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COMPLAINT FILED BY GARET DAVIDSON

I, Garet Davidson, re􏰀red Metro Nashville Police Department employee and OPA Lieutenant ENO #834804, hereby file this wri􏰁en complaint with the Metro Nashville Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability on this Wednesday, May 22, 2024 by email, and I allege the following:

1: Chief Hagar has engaged in a pa􏰁ern of poor decision making and judgment, and failing to supervise; enabled and perpetuated harm to employees through disparate treatment and sustaining a culture which tolerates certain misconduct; decreased departmental efficiency and effec􏰀veness; managed disciplinary ma􏰁ers ineffec􏰀vely, unethically, with bias, and out of policy/procedure; engaged in unacceptable prac􏰀ces which undermine public and departmental trust and brings discredit to the MNPD by:

  1. a)  Assistant Chief Hagar’s interference with Deputy Chief Stephen’s case (IA2023-00058), including his effort to clean the language and wri􏰁en record of the case. Chief Gilder was party to this.

  2. b)  The favorable outcome for former employee Chief Chris Taylor in which he was permi􏰁ed to resign without taking responsibility for his workplace conduct towards a POII officer that witnesses perceived as nearly rising to the level of an assault by in􏰀mida􏰀on.

  3. c)  Lt Schmitz not being demoted despite how the inves􏰀ga􏰀on revealed a pa􏰁ern of mistreatment towards female employees and subordinates, including physically harming one, resul􏰀ng in her requiring surgery (if I am not mistaken).

  4. d)  How Hagar handled now-lieutenant Hammond’s disciplinary process which resulted in her being decommissioned for nearly two years and a lawsuit in which Det. Carter, Lt. Sharpe, and Director Morante were named, despite them not being the decision makers with regards to how Lt. Hammond’s disciplinary process played out.

  5. e)  Chief Hagar’s interference with and mismanagement into the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the Covenant photo leak and the subsequent decision to disband the en􏰀re inves􏰀ga􏰀ve team despite them not being responsible for the leak.

  6. f)  Chief Hagar engages in a pa􏰁ern of se􏰁ling disciplinary cases prior to departmental hearings, resul􏰀ng in be􏰁er outcomes for the accused, despite the strength of the cases and harm caused to members of the public or other officers as a result of the accused officer’s misconduct, and this subverts the department’s mission by undermining accountability of those who engage in misconduct.

  7. g)  Chief Hagar engages in a pa􏰁ern of deficient communica􏰀on and the a􏰁empted delega􏰀on of his decision-making responsibili􏰀es to others whose rank, posi􏰀on, or role has never had

Page 1 of 61

that responsibility, and he appears to minimize his liability by obscuring his role when handling ma􏰁ers.

h) Chief Hagar superseding or ignoring chains of command, as well as giving deficient or poor instruc􏰀ons in the process.

If Chief Hagar is sustained on his allega􏰀on, I believe it would factually disqualify him from con􏰀nuing to serve in his present role and rank, as well as from handling disciplinary ma􏰁ers in any capacity, degree, or role, regardless of any other disciplinary sanc􏰀on. It may preclude him further service in the MNPD.

2: Irrespec􏰀ve of Chief Hagar’s individual role, the MNPD has a broader failure in training and policy and prac􏰀ce given how it manages disciplinary inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and outcomes, resul􏰀ng in disparate treatment of both inves􏰀gated and sanc􏰀oned employees, as well as undermining the integrity of the processes, and this can be seen in the following:

  1. a)  There is pa􏰁ern of rank bias in inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and sanc􏰀ons in which higher ranking personnel have more favorable outcomes than lower ranking when circumstances or allega􏰀ons are similar.

  2. b)  The strictly tailored language in documenta􏰀on (to include case summaries and other disciplinary paperwork) for employees of higher rank accused of serious viola􏰀ons of policy, as well as the special a􏰁en􏰀on cases with high-ranking employees receive, shows examples of rank bias and favorable treatment of certain employees over others.

  3. c)  The lack of documenta􏰀on and subsequent termina􏰀on of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Don Aaron’s treatment of News Channel 2 reporter Kenley Harge􏰁.

  4. d)  Accountability of supervisors is deficient in the MNPD, and there is prac􏰀ce of transferring personnel of captain rank and above without formal inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, documenta􏰀on, or findings, despite the basis for such transfers being due to pa􏰁erns of poor supervisory performance.

  5. e)  Command Staff outside of OPA is overly involved in and influencing how inves􏰀ga􏰀ons are conducted, and this can be used to lessen or worsen outcomes for the accused, irrespec􏰀ve of the actual case facts.

  6. f)  Department prac􏰀ce of inten􏰀onally keeping things not documented in wri􏰁en records to prevent discovery during legal request to produce records. Oral communica􏰀on is priori􏰀zed in order to minimize a paper trail. This also facilitates the ability of upper leadership to use the refrain “I don’t remember” during interviews, knowing with reliability that li􏰁le to no wri􏰁en evidence exists which elucidates their ac􏰀ons or communica􏰀on at the 􏰀me of making certain decisions.

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  1. g)  Ma􏰁ers of integrity are being mishandled

  2. h)  Current departmental disciplinary prac􏰀ce lacks propor􏰀onality, reasonableness, fairness, and consistency in sanc􏰀oning misconduct.

  3. i)  Command staff has had frequent communica􏰀on issues and disagreements on policy sanc􏰀ons, resul􏰀ng in several instances of officers agreeing with and signing for sanc􏰀ons, only to have those sanc􏰀ons overturned and increased later

If it is established that there is a broader failure in policy and training regarding departmental management of inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and outcomes, then new policy, procedures, and process should be created which improves consistency, communica􏰀on, transparency, defensibility, and fairness (elimina􏰀on or dras􏰀c reduc􏰀on in bias, especially rank bias).

Moreover, broader department-wide issues should not be used as cover to protect individuals iden􏰀fied as being responsible for perpetua􏰀ng, sustaining, or crea􏰀ng these issues.

3: There are failures in annual evalua􏰀ons in which supervisors are discouraged from scoring poor performing officers as failing or are given instruc􏰀ons to change scores, and MNPD’s current prac􏰀ce, policy, and procedures with annual evalua􏰀ons should be reviewed and improved.

4: The Metro Nashville Police Department was involved in the process of cra􏰂ing legisla􏰀on (SB 0591/HB 0764) to reduce the Nashville Community Oversight Board’s ability to operate and hold the MNPD accountable, and this is part of a greater trending problem with MNPD leadership’s disciplinary prac􏰀ces and aversion to oversight of any kind.

5: There has been a detrimental reduc􏰀on in training hours for recruits in the training academy and in the field training program which jeopardizes the training new officers receives, as well as overall departmental opera􏰀ons and employee performance, and the changed training landscape warrants a new inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding and sanc􏰀on.

6: There is a prac􏰀ce of iden􏰀fying viola􏰀ons of policy and procedure through the BWC review process, without supervisors properly addressing these in accordance with departmental policy, allowing repeat offenders to amass mul􏰀ple BWC reports without facing consequences.

7: The MNPD misrepresented and falsely reported to the COB and Mayor’s office that it had a func􏰀onal Force Inves􏰀ga􏰀on Team (FIT) prior to its actual implementa􏰀on.

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8: The department has failed to implement an actual zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and discrimina􏰀on.

9: Despite recommenda􏰀ons from outside sources, such as the 2020 Policing Policy Commission Report, Metro Nashville Community Oversight, and Nashville Mayor’s office, the MNPD leadership con􏰀nue to disregard a􏰁empts by external groups or persons to increase accountability and implement needed changes, and even agreed upon changes are slow to be implemented or ul􏰀mately not implemented at all.

I, Garet Davidson, am filing the above enumerated items as complaints with the Metro Nashville Police Department, in accordance with all applicable and relevant policies, procedures, and laws. Accordingly, a complaint is defined by the MNPD manual as:

4.10.010 Defini􏰀ons: B. Complaint:

An allega􏰀on from any person, expressed orally or in wri􏰀ng, which provides a reasonable belief that circumstance(s) exist which, if proven, would amount to employee misconduct, or an expression of dissa􏰀sfac􏰀on from an external source with a policy, procedure, prac􏰀ce, philosophy, service level or legal standard of the agency.

I believe my enumerated items cons􏰀tute a complaint under the above listed defini􏰀on. As addressed under Title 4: Employee Conduct within the MNPD Manual, I would emphasize the following points:

The effec􏰀veness of a law enforcement agency and its members depends upon community respect and confidence. The first goal of our department is to provide fair, efficient service to all our ci􏰀zens consistent with our established mission statement, policies, procedures, rules, regula􏰀ons, ethical codes, and administra􏰀ve or execu􏰀ve orders as established by the department or Metropolitan Government. To advance the mission, it is vitally important that all departmental employees conduct themselves in a manner demonstra􏰀ng unques􏰀onable integrity, reliability, and honesty. Whether interac􏰀ng with ci􏰀zens, tes􏰀fying in any court or legal proceeding, or providing informa􏰀on in any official se􏰃ng, the success of a law enforcement agency rests upon the reliability of the member represen􏰀ng that agency. Therefore, all members sworn and civilian must conduct themselves in a manner consistent with policies, procedures, rules, regula􏰀ons, ethical codes, and administra􏰀ve or execu􏰀ve orders as established by the department or Metropolitan Government. Complete candor and fully truthful responses are required when employees are providing informa􏰀on or responding to inquiry related to any official duty. Employees must further demonstrate the professional integrity expected of them by the public in their behavior. Recognizing that a fundamental and unequivocal duty of all employees is to promote the efficient and effec􏰀ve opera􏰀on of department and government

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Page 5 of 51

Garet Davi son

Resp ully submitted,

in writing.communicatetoreasonable effort to provide this. lt is my preference

needed, I will make aothers due to their nature. Lastly, if additional information or specificity is

overlap or referenceI have made an effort to organize my complaints, but some of these items may

these items, then I would expect these to be adopted.

to resolving the enumerated items. lf better solutions are identified to addressprovide specific solutions

they are my effort toand issues- These recommendations are not meant to be exhaustive limitin$or

of the complaintsI have provided some specific recommendations for action(s) to be taken in light

(4.10 Discipline and Correction Action, G.)

considerotion, the ChieI of Police shall cause such omendments ond modificotions to be made.

best occomplish the mission and godls of the MNPD. l-)pon discussion, recommendation, and due

time to time in order tofromIt is recognized thot this policy should be reviewed ond omended

expedient monner. (4.10 Discipline and Correction Action, D.)

the Police Deportment is best served by resolving allegotions of misconduct in d timely ond

Government Civil Service Commission, it is recognized that the public interest dnd the mission of

Consistent with this policy, other estoblished procedures, dnd the Rules of the Metropolitan

timely ond consistent monner (4.70 Discipline ond Correction Action, B.)

employee misconduct to determine the volidity of ollegotions. Findings sholl be indicoted in o

integrity. The police department shollfoirly and importiolly investigate oll comploints obout

misconduct is cruciolto the demonstration ond protection of departmentol ond employee

investigating comploints and allegations of employeeforThe estoblishment of procedures

Action, A.)

investigote dnd impose disciplinory oction when oppropriote. (4.70 Discipline ond Correction

suggest that o member has engaged in prohibited conduct, it is the policy of the deportment to

behavior is, therefore, prohibited under opplicoble depdrtmentol policy. when circumstances

of the deportment, the efficiency of deportment operotions ond the morole of all members. Such

ond confidence is detrimentol to the public interest. lt is equolly detrimentol to the elfectiveness

this respectfromoperotion through the pursuit of lowful objectives, ony conduct which detracts

Addi􏰀onal details, informa􏰀on, and recommenda􏰀ons for each item are below.

Pertaining to item one (1)(a):

Assistant Chief Hagar’s interference with Deputy Chief Stephen’s case (IA2023-00058), including his effort to clean the language and wri􏰁en record of the case. Chief Gilder was party to this.

The ini􏰀al concern regarding Chief Stephen’s ac􏰀ons was so great that a􏰂er Det. Carter had interviewed Assistant Chief Greene as a part of his preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the ma􏰁er, Greene immediately followed-up with Chief Drake. Chief Drake, in turn, instructed Greene to have OPA ini􏰀ate an inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

The inves􏰀ga􏰀on proceeded at pace un􏰀l Det. Carter contacted Stephens in order to no􏰀fy him that he was under inves􏰀ga􏰀on. During the course of that recorded conversa􏰀on (which Director Morante and myself listened to), Stephens made it clear that he was not interested in a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement if it would require him admi􏰃ng to a viola􏰀on of policy. He did not feel that he did anything wrong, which is the response most accused officers give.

It is important to note that Det. Carter had reminded Stephens of the pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement op􏰀on because the facts he had already collected suggested that more-likely-than-not, Stephens had engaged in a viola􏰀on of unity of command and acted with par􏰀ality towards his subordinate who had been one of his close friends for many years. Det. Carter expressed a concern that Stephens may not realize the significance of his own ac􏰀ons and may underes􏰀mate what Det. Carter already knew.

The primary concern was that Stephens may lose credibility and trust as a supervisor—or worse, as an employee—depending on how he chose to answer during his interview. Det. Carter did this as kind of life-line or opportunity to save Stephens from poten􏰀al consequences and heartache down the road, and Det. Carter has done this in the past with other cases of employees of various ranks.

It was well within Stephens rights to decline a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀ve se􏰁lement. The events which followed are what derailed the en􏰀re departmental inves􏰀ga􏰀on, and they were principally guided by Chief Hagar’s involvement.

Because Chief Stephens had contacted Commander Starling and Director Morante during the course of the preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Commander Newbern’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on, Starling and Morante

Page 6 of 61

were recused from any involvement in managing Stephens’s case because they were witnesses. A new chain of command was established which included Det. Carter, then myself (lieutenant), then Commander Gilder.

One day Det. Carter came to me and stated that he had been in communica􏰀on with Chief Hagar who advised that Stephens may be just interviewed as a witness as they were working out a preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement. Hagar was going to have Stephens come to his office and meet with him to work this out. Det. Carter created two sets of ques􏰀ons one for Stephens as an accused employee (about 9 pages of ques􏰀ons) and another for him as a witness (about 5 pages of ques􏰀ons).

The solu􏰀on with Hagar ini􏰀ally sounded somewhat promising, though we had our concerns. At the end of the day, a preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement would have meant that Chief Stephens recognized he had violated policy or procedure, and he was ready to take responsibility for it and move on. There would be no need for an interview if his admission fit the known facts. He would be sanc􏰀oned appropriately to close out his allega􏰀on, but he would s􏰀ll need to be interviewed as a witness because he possessed relevant informa􏰀on needed for an inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Commander Newbern’s conduct.

Det. Carter was updated that something had been worked out with Chief Stephens, and a witness interview was scheduled. The witness ques􏰀ons were used, and it was apparent during the interview that Chief Stephens knew more than he was willing to admit. Specifically, he possessed the knowledge that Commander Newbern had lied to him about his rela􏰀onship with a subordinate, but he would not acknowledge that during the interview.

It was our assessment that Stephens did not want to acknowledge or admit the obvious regarding Newbern’s lie because this informa􏰀on would be used in the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Newbern. Stephens and Newbern are known to be close friends of many years, and despite this, Stephens supervises Newbern. The addi􏰀onal problem with Stephen’s unwillingness to acknowledge or call Newbern’s conduct for what it was, was that a preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement requires a complete and truthful admission, full candor, and complete coopera􏰀on with an inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

The manner in which Stephens handled his interview only reinforced the percep􏰀on of his bias and par􏰀ality with regards to Newbern. To add to all this, I was soon therea􏰂er informed that Hagar had completed a Form 311 Remedial Counseling Report with Stephens rather than a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement, and this would later be sent to me to add to the case file.

When Chief Hagar issued the Form 311 remedial counseling report to Stephens for this ma􏰁er, Stephens acknowledged that Newbern had lied to him (see 2b below for Form 311 language and addi􏰀onal relevant for 1a). This subsequent acknowledgement was material to both his and Newbern’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on. It was my assessment that by Stephen’s ac􏰀ons, he would have invalidated a preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement. Addi􏰀onally, he may have commi􏰁ed a viola􏰀on of policy for failing to fully disclose relevant informa􏰀on during his interview, and this would be a new allega􏰀on of a policy viola􏰀on warran􏰀ng being addressed.

The use of a Form 311 as if it was a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement was problema􏰀c. A Form 311 does not document a sanc􏰀oned viola􏰀on of policy; it does not exist within the grid chart as a possible op􏰀on. This meant that Hagar resolved Stephens’ allega􏰀on through a non-sanc􏰀oned finding; therefore,

Page 7 of 61

there was no preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement. Stephens did not admit to any viola􏰀on of policy and was not sanc􏰀oned.

This has important implica􏰀ons:

  1. 1)  Stephens should s􏰀ll have been interviewed as an accused officer

  2. 2)  The allega􏰀on of Stephens was not fully inves􏰀gated

  3. 3)  Hagar re-directed inves􏰀ga􏰀ve efforts to prevent Stephens from being sanc􏰀oned

  4. 4)  To date, Stephens has not been disciplined for any of his conduct

  5. 5)  The case against Stephens could s􏰀ll be re-opened and sanc􏰀oned

I was shocked when I was informed about this turn of events by Det. Carter. I was also disappointed at how frequently upper command staff failed to communicate down the chain through me. I did not have the opportunity to push back or dig deeper into these decisions with regards to this case.

Just before I re􏰀red, I reached out to Chief Gilder in order to understand more about what was expected with how to close out Stephens’ case. An allega􏰀on had been made, but he was interviewed as a witness by Chief Hagar’s instruc􏰀ons. Addi􏰀onal specific informa􏰀on was not obtained from him as to his culpability. Addi􏰀onally, he was issued a Form 311 for remedial counseling rather than a sanc􏰀on. None of these facts corresponded to any legi􏰀mate way of documen􏰀ng the inves􏰀ga􏰀on based upon the policies and procedures in place nor actually sanc􏰀oning viola􏰀ons if Stephens was entering into a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀ve se􏰁lement.

I forwarded a dra􏰂 copy of Det. Carter’s working case summary, and I reminded Gilder during our conversa􏰀on that Det. Carter had ul􏰀mately asked a different set of ques􏰀ons to Stephens during his interview as a witness than what he would have been as an accused, and this was due to our understanding of Hagar having worked out a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀ve se􏰁lement. Gilder subsequently reviewed the informa􏰀on, and I awaited his response.

Gilder checked with Hagar and then provided their instruc􏰀ons to me in an email dated November 15, 2023. I was instructed to completed the Form 312 and mark the finding as “ma􏰁er of record.” I only acknowledged I understood and did so as instructed. Problema􏰀cally, a “ma􏰁er of record” finding presumes certain things, like the unavailability of witnesses, and it is used to document that a complaint was filed but could not be fully inves􏰀gated for some specific reason.

The only witness made unavailable for interviewing as a part of Stephen’s interview was Chief Stephens; Det. Carter was instructed to interview Stephens as a witness rather than an accused employee. This was a significant decision made by Chief Hagar rather than Det. Carter or I.

Det. Carter created two different sets of ques􏰀ons for Chief Stephens. One set was the original, created to interview him as an accused officer. The second set was created in order to interview him as only a witness. The witness interview was structured differently, with different ques􏰀ons than if he had been interviewed as an accused. The witness ques􏰀ons were carefully worded in order to facilitate an interview that did not result in direct, accusatory ques􏰀ons which needed to be answered with respect to his culpability in viola􏰀ons of departmental policy or procedure.

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The irony of Hagar’s involvement in this case is that there were legi􏰀mate concerns arising out of a percep􏰀on that Chief Stephens may have used his posi􏰀on as Commander Newbern’s deputy chief to become involved in, inquire, or affect the outcome of Newbern’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on, as well as not handle chain of command communica􏰀ons and responsibili􏰀es appropriately. Chief Hagar, due to the degree and manner in which he did so, became so involved in Chief Stephen’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on that these were true of him.

As noted in the email, I was to complete the Form 312 with the following language, “This case is being closed as a ma􏰁er of record with the recommenda􏰀on that DCOP Stephens be counseled regarding supervisory expecta􏰀ons and how percep􏰀ons of friendships and favori􏰀sm can be construed as a failure to act impar􏰀ally, even when no misconduct occurred.”

The language of this, in-of-itself, establishes that a policy jus􏰀fica􏰀on for a full inves􏰀ga􏰀on existed. The Department Manual states the following in 4.10.010 Defini􏰀ons:

B. Complaint: An allega􏰀on from any person, expressed orally or in wri􏰀ng, which provides a reasonable belief that circumstance(s) exist which, if proven, would amount to employee misconduct, or an expression of dissa􏰀sfac􏰀on from an external source with a policy, procedure, prac􏰀ce, philosophy, service level or legal standard of the agency.

A percep􏰀on existed that could be “construed as a failure,” and this has the same policy meaning as “reasonable belief that circumstance(s) exist.” The statement, “even when no misconduct occurred,” implies that a full inves􏰀ga􏰀on was done and that an actual inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding was established—which did not occur because of his involvement and hijacking of the case. Also, the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding of “unfounded” would be more appropriate if an inves􏰀ga􏰀on had truly been completed which proved that there had been no misconduct; instead, Chief Hagar chose “ma􏰁er of record.”

A “ma􏰁er of record” finding is not used in these kinds of circumstances. They are limited to instances when there is a significant hindrance to being able to conduct the inves􏰀ga􏰀on, such as the availability of a key witness or even the accused, such as due to a prolonged military deployment. In this case, all involved witnesses were available. It was only Chief Hagar’s direc􏰀ng of the case which affected OPA being able to interview Stephens as an accused.

Again, Det. Carter and I believed based upon the facts gathered prior to DC Stephens interview, that it was a very possible outcome that Stephens had violated policy. He needed to be interviewed to finish gathering facts to be able to draw an actual full conclusion.

In this instance, the only reason it was not fully inves􏰀gated was because of Chief Hagar’s involvement in the OPA process and instruc􏰀ons which came down the chain to Det. Carter or myself. While Stephens had a favorable outcome in the sense that he was not sanc􏰀oned, I believe the ma􏰁er remains open and demanding a full inves􏰀ga􏰀on. In a direct interview about his ac􏰀ons, Stephens may be able to provide a convincing explana􏰀on of events which exonerates himself or genuinely unfounds the complaint. As it stands, ques􏰀ons remain, and that is unfair to him.

Page 9 of 61

As unpleasant as the process can be for those accused, OPA’s inves􏰀ga􏰀ons are designed to get as clear a picture of the facts as possible. This benefits all involved, the whole department, and the public. Officers who have not engaged in misconduct deserve strong case documenta􏰀on proving that; those who have engaged in misconduct, deserve accountability.

It is unclear why Chief Hagar would take such a vested interest in direc􏰀ng the outcome of this inves􏰀ga􏰀on. My first inclina􏰀on is some personal connec􏰀on, either as friends, peers, or perhaps Hagar is friend with Stephens’ father who has been on the department for many years as well. At the end of the day, Hagar’s decisions do not appear to be driven by policy or procedure, and they resulted in the protec􏰀on of another chief, in viola􏰀on of normal complaint and disciplinary policies and procedures.

Recommenda􏰀ons:

o Reopen the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Chief Stephens and interview him as an accused officer in order to properly finish the inves􏰀ga􏰀on. Inves􏰀gate his inten􏰀onal withholding of material informa􏰀on from the inves􏰀gator during the course of his inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

o Inves􏰀gate Chief Hagar to determine whether his involvement in Deputy Chief Stephens case was a viola􏰀on of policies pertaining to unity/chain of command, interfering with an OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀on such that the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve direc􏰀on was altered to protect someone accused of misconduct, viola􏰀ng policies and procedure for closuring a case without an inves􏰀ga􏰀ve-factual basis, demonstrated a rank-biased handling, and demonstrated poor judgment.

Pertaining to item one (1)(b):

The favorable outcome for former employee Chief Chris Taylor in which he was permi􏰁ed to resign without taking responsibility for his workplace conduct towards a POII officer that witnesses perceived as nearly rising to the level of an assault by in􏰀mida􏰀on.

Chief Taylor was inves􏰀gated regarding how he treated Training Academy officers (IA2022- 00003). The primary incident involved him confron􏰀ng a training instructor in front of a sergeant, an officer, and a civilian, in such a manner that several believed he was about to assault the training instructor.

Following this and other events at the training academy, Taylor caused certain officers to be transferred out of the training academy on shorter no􏰀ce than allowed by policy, and his jus􏰀fica􏰀on for it was without merit. Addi􏰀onally, Taylor was inves􏰀gated for his appearance on talk shows and for poli􏰀cally campaigning to be a mayor while in uniform and possibly on duty.

Page 10 of 61

As a result of the facts gathered during the course of his inves􏰀ga􏰀on, Chief Taylor was sustained on several policy viola􏰀ons, including Workplace Conduct, Poli􏰀cal or Other Ac􏰀vi􏰀es, and Transfer / Bid Process In the end, Chief Hagar and Chief Drake se􏰁led the case in such a manner that Taylor was not sanc􏰀oned for his treatment of the training instructor. He was not sanc􏰀oned for his abusive workplace conduct.

The department o􏰂en se􏰁les cases as a ma􏰁er of expedience, rather than handling them with excellence. I believe Chief Taylor’s rank helped his favorable resolu􏰀on. Addi􏰀onally, I believe the fact that he had adopted one of Chief Drake’s grand-children was influen􏰀al.

Whatever the mo􏰀ves behind how the ma􏰁er was se􏰁led, it is my assessment that it fails to send a message of accountability to those in a posi􏰀on of leadership. It devalues the experience and harm suffered by employees at the hands of supervisors, and it provides an easy off-ramp for bad employees.

It was well-within the Chief Hagar and Chief Drake’s ability to direct the case to a full hearing where the case facts would have been sustained, and a finding of dismissal could have been offered rather than let him resign with only a minimal disciplinary finding in his case file.

The officers who experienced a hos􏰀le, threatening workplace deserved be􏰁er.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Review the basis for se􏰁ling this case without going to a hearing and inves􏰀gate whether a rank bias, close rela􏰀onship, or poor judgment were influen􏰀al in how it was se􏰁led (as opposed to case facts and established procedures).

o The jus􏰀fica􏰀on for se􏰁ling cases prior to a hearing should be recorded in wri􏰀ng and ve􏰁ed by an objec􏰀ve process and procedure to protect it from improper influences.

Pertaining to item one (1)(c):

Lt Schmitz not being demoted despite how the inves􏰀ga􏰀on revealed a pa􏰁ern of mistreatment towards female employees and subordinates, including physically harming one, resul􏰀ng in her requiring surgery (if I am not mistaken).

Lt Schmitz’s case (IA2021-00046) is an example of one that demonstrates rank bias and/or poor decision making by command staff, as well as a failure to implement a meaningful “zero tolerance” policy regarding harassment and discrimina􏰀on of employees. It is my understand that Chief Hagar handled the

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disciplinary process a􏰂er Lt. Schmitz disagreed with the sustained findings and sanc􏰀ons and requested a hearing on this case.

Schmitz’s case is one that caused much conversa􏰀on around the office. For one, it was being regarded as the probable first sustained case of gender discrimina􏰀on against a supervisor in Metro Government’s history (at the very least MNPD’s history, if I recall correctly). The inves􏰀ga􏰀on had determined that Lt. Schmitz had engaged in a pa􏰁ern of behavior in which MNPD female employees were treated differently than male employees and harmed.

His conduct included how he placed his hands on them and invaded their space, ignored them during mee􏰀ngs yet entertained sugges􏰀ons from male employees during the same mee􏰀ngs, and carelessly moved academy equipment so that it hurt a female employee who reported being made to feel ignored and invisible. The pa􏰁ern of conduct toward female employees culminated with the significant physical injury of that female training academy officer.

There was a general belief among OPA personnel that he should no longer be a supervisor; his ability to supervise and especially to treat female employees fairly was called into doubt. It was too likely his conduct would result in more harm (not just physical), and this would be to the detriment of the organiza􏰀on and individual employees. I myself advocated up the chain that he should be double- demoted so that he could not supervise anyone. Chief Lokey apparently agreed.

I learned that there was apparently a belief that a Civil Service hearing would overturn a double demo􏰀on in light of another past case involving Vivyonne Lee (OS2018-00006). However, her case did not involve a prolonged pa􏰁ern of supervisory conduct; Schmitz’s did. Command staff went back and forth on what they would give as sanc􏰀ons, and OPA was not involved in their decision.

At the end of it all, it is my understanding that Hagar se􏰁led the case outside of a hearing, and Lt. Schmitz was not even demoted at all—not even a single 􏰀me. I believe his total suspension 􏰀me was reduced too, and he was soon given an assignment which did not require him to supervise anyone.

The employee physically harmed as a result of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on was not consulted for this outcome. She had to reach out mul􏰀ple 􏰀mes on her own to get updates. Even though OPA was not responsible for the disciplinary outcome, OPA was tasked with mee􏰀ng with her to provide an update and explain things. In my es􏰀ma􏰀on, she was just as invisible and unheard at the end of the process as she was under Lt. Schmitz’s supervision.

Looking back, this is when I truly began to experience my cogni􏰀ve dissonance with MNPD leadership. Their stated values, rhetoric on “do no harm,” and supposed stance of not tolera􏰀ng certain conduct, all too o􏰂en, does not line up with how they actually handle their responsibili􏰀es or fulfill their roles.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Review the basis for se􏰁ling this case without going to a hearing and inves􏰀gate whether a rank bias, close rela􏰀onship, or poor judgment were influen􏰀al in how it was se􏰁led (as opposed to case facts and established procedures).

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o The jus􏰀fica􏰀on for se􏰁ling cases prior to a hearing should be recorded in wri􏰀ng and ve􏰁ed by an objec􏰀ve process and procedure to protect it from improper influences.

Pertaining to item one (1)(d):

How Hagar handled now-lieutenant Hammond’s disciplinary process which resulted in her being decommissioned for nearly two years and a lawsuit in which Det. Carter, Lt. Sharpe, and Director Morante were named, despite them not being the decision makers with regards to how Lt. Hammond’s administra􏰀ve process played out.

It is my understanding that Assistant Chief Hagar was one of the principal decision makers with regards to how Lt. Hammond’s case (IA2018-00008) was handled administra􏰀vely. While Det. Carter, Lt. Sharpe, and Director Morante would have borne the primary responsibility for the inves􏰀ga􏰀on itself, how its conclusions were subsequently used against Lt. Hammond is historically a process driven by command staff outside of OPA.

Because of this, it is likely that Director Morante primarily communicated inves􏰀ga􏰀ve facts to Chief Hagar and others, and these others, in turn, decided what to do from there. It is my understanding that Chief Hagar is the primary one responsible for the significant length of 􏰀me that Lt. Hammond remained decommissioned. While he would have certainly referenced the inves􏰀ga􏰀on, it is well known that the MNPD has a poor history with how it treats officers accused of substan􏰀al viola􏰀ons of policy.

The department once had what was commonly referred to as “the green mile,” which for years involved decommissioned officers having to remain in plain clothes in the lobby of 200 James Robertson Parkway alongside sex offenders who would come register and check-in. This was a tac􏰀c designed to crush the spirit of the accused in hopes of them se􏰁ling cases or resigning all-together.

This prac􏰀ce was modified, and soon therea􏰂er, North Precinct’s public lobby was o􏰂en perceived to be the “bubble” where officers who were expected to be terminated would be temporarily assigned during their inves􏰀ga􏰀ons. Some􏰀mes this was true. Officers were later rotated to different precincts, and the reputa􏰀on for a single loca􏰀on signifying an employee’s career was doomed no longer remained.

However, the prac􏰀ce of delaying inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and dragging them out in order to force a resigna􏰀on had not died yet. Lt. Hammond was one of the last employees to be affected by this drawing out of the administra􏰀ve process, rather than comple􏰀ng it efficiently. She spent much of her 􏰀me decommissioned at Madison Precinct’s bubble. Lt. Hammond was decommissioned for around two (2) years.

Following Mayor Cooper’s 2020 Policing Policy Commission recommenda􏰀on, the department now aims to complete the disciplinary phase within 45 days or less. This includes conduc􏰀ng the departmental hearing, though the departmental fails to do this with every case; most recently, it has

Page 13 of 61

failed to do so with Sgt. Kenney’s case (IA2023-00045) which is about six months late on going to a hearing.

It is my understanding that OPA had concluded Hammond’s case much earlier than the total 􏰀me she was decommissioned. Had she been permi􏰁ed to promptly go to a hearing, she would have been able to proceed through the process in accordance with her employee rights. Had she disagreed with the findings and if the departmental hearing had an unfavorable outcome for her, she could have proceeded with an appeal. Instead, she was forced to languish.

Addi􏰀onally, the manner in how the case was mishandled and dropped impugned OPA and the inves􏰀gator. To my knowledge, there was never any formal determina􏰀on that the case lacked merit or required addi􏰀onal inves􏰀ga􏰀on. If the fact finding and case was deficient, this should have been addressed formally. Instead, the whole inves􏰀ga􏰀on and disciplinary process seemed to evaporate, and this understandably further fueled Lt. Hammond’s percep􏰀on that she had been mistreated and that there had been no jus􏰀fica􏰀on for how she was treated.

I believe that Assistant Chief Hagar is primarily responsible for Lt. Hammond’s mistreatment, and his handling of that administra􏰀ve process resulted in three other employees (Det. Carter, Lt. Sharpe, and Director Morante) being sued for his mishandling. If I am not mistaken, he was not named in the lawsuit. His ac􏰀ons brought harm to mul􏰀ple other employees and is further reason he is disqualified from holding his rank or possessing the privilege of making significant decisions in the department. His decision making showed poor judgment, violated policy, and nega􏰀vely affected the efficiency, effec􏰀veness, and reputa􏰀on of the department as a whole, as well as OPA specifically.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Inves􏰀gate the reasons for why Lt. Hammond’s administra􏰀ve process was drawn out and mishandled; if there are sustained findings, sanc􏰀on accordingly.

o Inves􏰀gate the reasons why Sgt. Kenney’s case has been excessively drawn out past the 45-day window for conduc􏰀ng hearings and address accordingly.

o Create policy and procedures which require documen􏰀ng in wri􏰀ng the basis for extending the administra􏰀ve process. Just as OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀ons require Chief approval to go beyond 45 days, the same should be done for every sustained case which is going to a hearing. If an extension of 􏰀me is granted, the amount should be specified in wri􏰀ng. Once an employee has been presented with their findings and sanc􏰀ons, they should be able to proceed to a hearing without undue delay.

o Decommissioned officers should have their status reviewed monthly (a minimum of every 30 days) by their chain of command in order to determine whether they should be reinstated. If it is

Page 14 of 61

determined that the officer should remain decommissioned, then the basis for this should be made in wri􏰀ng, kept on file, and officer no􏰀fied.

Pertaining to item one (1)(e):

Chief Hagar’s interfered with and mismanaged the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the Covenant photo leak, and the subsequent decision to disband the en􏰀re inves􏰀ga􏰀ve team despite them not being responsible for the leak.

Soon a􏰂er this inves􏰀ga􏰀on began (IA2023-00094), Chief Hagar called Lt. Arevalo to come to police headquarters (HQ) with some detec􏰀ves in order to conduct interviews. Chief Hagar had numerous officers on standby to be interviewed at HQ, and he expected OPA to just suddenly sit down and interview them one-by-one without prior no􏰀ce or inves􏰀ga􏰀ve prepara􏰀on. This was unprecedented.

OPA has a rigorous, 􏰀me-tested process of preliminary fact gathering before ever conduc􏰀ng an interview with an accused employee. This process generally culminates with a body of facts and a detailed set of ques􏰀ons which the detec􏰀ve will reference during the course of the interview. The detec􏰀ve goes into the interview room knowing many things, and they have the objec􏰀ves of learning things they did not know, as well as obtaining an admission or denial about misconduct.

Hagar’s sudden demand and imposi􏰀on on OPA that they immediately conduct interviews of employees he had determined may have been responsible, was unprecedented, misguided, a poor decision, a demonstra􏰀on of poor judgment, and a failure of following the unity of command and process, procedures, and training established by the department and OPA prac􏰀ces. It jeopardized the whole inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

He could have sought input and requested that such a task be completed, and this conversa􏰀on could have played out as a hypothe􏰀cal in which Hagar was reminded about all these issues. Instead, Arevalo was called down to HQ, in person, with other detec􏰀ves, in order to begin conduc􏰀ng the interviews of employees on standby. I believe these employees did not even have a􏰁orneys or representa􏰀ves yet, and the FOP was just being made aware of this whole situa􏰀on and was scrambling provide counsel.

While at HQ, Arevalo spoke with Hagar and requested a moment to consult with his detec􏰀ves before beginning. Hagar was reportedly condescending and demanding in what he expected OPA to do. I am unsure whether those present would say his manner of conduct rose to a policy viola􏰀on of Workplace Conduct, but given what I heard reported second-hand, it warrants inves􏰀ga􏰀ng. Despite this, everyone from OPA was on the same page that this was not a good idea and was fraught with issues. It was going to jeopardize the en􏰀rety of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

During this quick mee􏰀ng amongst OPA personnel, Assistant Chief Greene spoke with Arevalo. Arevalo explained his concerns to Greene, and Greene shared his concerns. Greene had previously been

Page 15 of 61

an OPA detec􏰀ve, so he may have understood the erroneous decision Hagar was forcing. Hagar stepped into the mee􏰀ng and Greene explained the situa􏰀on, but Hagar wanted an aside with Greene.

They stepped outside from the group, and eventually, they returned. Hagar then gave an explana􏰀on to the group about why they would wait. He explained the very same things that Arevalo had tried to explain to him previously.

This showcased Hagar’s unwillingness to listen to those with subject ma􏰁er exper􏰀se only because their rank was below him. It highlights his willingness to make decisions based upon what he wants, rather than actual departmental policy, procedures, training, or best prac􏰀ces.

The way Chief Hagar began this inves􏰀ga􏰀on so eagerly and so misguided, casts further doubt on the rest of how he supervised the inves􏰀ga􏰀on and its a􏰂ermath. During the course of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on, Lt. Arevalo had to personally advise Chief Hagar directly about every development of the case. This was a viola􏰀on of chain of command.

The chain of command within OPA has long suffered issues with people jumping rank above and below, but ordinarily, communica􏰀on goes up the chain. Lt. Arevalo being required to provide Hagar such direct, play by play communica􏰀on speaks volumes about the erosion of the independence of OPA as a division which can operate freely from outside influences or constraints.

The decision to remove individuals from the team a􏰂er the inves􏰀ga􏰀on showed they were not involved and had not violated policy brought harm to those so removed. Chief Drake and Asst. Chief Hagar called the mee􏰀ng with the team, during which Drake said they had not done anything wrong. He delivered this “good news” before leaving the room and allowing Hagar to deliver the bad news about everyone being removed from the team.

Removing everyone from the team on the heels of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on which did not sustain any of them on any viola􏰀ons of policy is a direct and flagrant upending of the integrity of departmental inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and their outcomes. The decision is one driven by the percep􏰀ons of some, outside of actual facts, in order to have their desired outcome enforced. It is driven by personal percep􏰀on and poor leadership, not fact-finding.

This act sends a very strong message within the department that an OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀on can come to the determina􏰀on that someone has not engaged in a viola􏰀on of policy and yet treat them as if they had. It does not feel fair in the least and undermines confidence in the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve process itself. It harms the appearance of fairness in the process.

Addi􏰀onally, it is hypocri􏰀cal and exposes further rank bias in light of other recent decisions. For example, Chief Stephens’ case exposed serious ques􏰀ons about his ability to serve as a deputy chief. Despite this, he was not moved or reassigned in any capacity. In fact, Chief Hagar went out of his way to protect him.

There is already established precedent in the department that when a chief moves personnel despite there being no established policy viola􏰀on, that this can be overturned. This was done in the case of Chief Taylor moving Sgt. Boguskie and Ofc. Bridgeman. A􏰂er Chief Taylor’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on was concluded, it was determined that Chief Taylor had indeed acted inappropriately and without cause in moving those individuals. They were returned to their posi􏰀ons. Chief Taylor had moved those

Page 16 of 61

individuals under the mistaken belief that they were undermining academy opera􏰀ons, but there was not even a formal inves􏰀ga􏰀on into whether this was the case. He did so of his own preroga􏰀ve and percep􏰀on of events.

In this present ma􏰁er with the detec􏰀ves and the decision to disband the whole team, there was an inves􏰀ga􏰀on, yet there was no policy viola􏰀ons sustained against them. Despite this, leadership made the decision to disband them. The department led the public to believe that no current employees were responsible for the leak.

I understand that there may be a desire to argue that it is the preroga􏰀ve of Chief Drake and command staff to do such when the totality of facts and circumstances warrant it. If facts arose which warranted disbanding the team, were they documented? Were they the actual basis?

Disbanding the team likely did more to harm departmental opera􏰀ons’ efficiency and effec􏰀veness than anything actually established by the inves􏰀ga􏰀on. This would, in turn, mean the decision to disband the team was the more harmful decision for the efficiency and effec􏰀veness of the MNPD organiza􏰀on, and the leader responsible for this should be held accountable. If such facts did not exist or were not documented, I can only hope those making such poor decisions in upper leadership allow others the opportunity to make be􏰁er decisions in their stead.

Employees need to know that inves􏰀ga􏰀ve conclusions mean something defini􏰀ve. They need to be able to trust the outcomes. I am confident that the disbanded members feel their reputa􏰀on has been harmed. The act of disbanding them at the conclusion of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on would lead all within the department to reasonably conclude that those individuals must have done something wrong. Those disbanded members could argue the case proved they hadn’t all day long, but the obvious fact that leadership moved them all would argue more strongly against them.

This creates a cloud of doubt about the character, dependability, and trustworthiness of those transferred team members going forward. This is an intangible harm which could result in losing out on transfer opportuni􏰀es in the future because other supervisors may not want to take the risks of having such an employee on their team. This can follow an employee around for years to come.

Command staff should be cognizant that just because they say transfers are not disciplinary in nature, the manner in how the department some􏰀mes uses them make them so in prac􏰀ce, and they are o􏰂en conducted without formal documenta􏰀on, further obscuring the basis and the ability of officers to contest the basis for the transfers.

Recommenda􏰀ons:

o The decision to disband the team should be inves􏰀gated and given thorough scru􏰀ny, and the department should consider over-turning the decision if personnel did not engage in wrongdoing. If there is a specific individual(s) which cannot be trusted, this should be handled on a case-by-case basis rather than everyone.

Page 17 of 61

o Chief Hagar’s overall involvement and management of the OPA case should be inves􏰀gated in order to determine whether he jeopardized the case or created circumstances which made it difficult for OPA or its inves􏰀gators to conduct an objec􏰀ve inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

o The basis for all department transfers should be made in wri􏰀ng (For example, whether it was the result of misconduct, the crea􏰀on or elimina􏰀on of a posi􏰀on, employee strengths and experience needed in another capacity, etc.)

Pertaining to item one (1)(f):

Chief Hagar engages in a pa􏰁ern of se􏰁ling disciplinary cases prior to departmental hearings, resul􏰀ng in be􏰁er outcomes for the accused, despite the strength of the cases and harm caused to members of the public or other officers as a result of the accused officer’s misconduct, and this subverts the department’s mission by undermining accountability of those who engage in misconduct.

It may first be argued that this has been a common prac􏰀ce, and my response is that it does not mean it has been used appropriately. The department has too o􏰂en allowed bias for or against specific employees to be influen􏰀al in the deals they cut. Convenience and expediency have too o􏰂en been a factor when Chief Hagar has se􏰁led ma􏰁ers, and officers of rank generally benefit from this rather than POII officers.

Such cases he has been involved in, to my knowledge, include Lt. Schmitz’s case (IA2021-00046), Lt Gooch’s case (IA2022-00040), Captain Hunsicker and Director Hooper (IA2022-00004), and Chief Taylor’s case (IA2022-00003). Sgt. Tuberville’s case (IA2021-00064) is another example of a case se􏰁led before a hearing, but this may have been actually handled by another chief (perhaps Chief Greene).

The department should have records of all disciplinary cases, the ini􏰀al recommended sanc􏰀ons, the decision to go to a hearing, the se􏰁ling of the case prior to it, and the final sanc􏰀ons. It is not certain whether the chiefs actually document the basis for se􏰁ling cases prior to a hearing, as these are believed to be primarily just conversa􏰀ons which result in the final, approved paperwork. The actual reasoning or jus􏰀fica􏰀on for lowering or altering sanc􏰀ons without going to a hearing are not documented, to my knowledge.

An inves􏰀ga􏰀on should be conducted to review departmental prac􏰀ce and policies regarding the basis for se􏰁ling cases. The jus􏰀fica􏰀on, whether it was ever put in wri􏰀ng or not, should be reviewed, especially for Hagar’s cases. The sufficiency of the reasoning should be assessed in order to determine whether flaws in the fact-finding or inves􏰀ga􏰀ons existed, and if they were determined to exist, whether the cases were ever sent back for further inves􏰀ga􏰀on or to address deficiencies going forward. If not, the basis for this should be looked into as well.

Page 18 of 61

As it operates in prac􏰀ce now, accused employees may rou􏰀nely obtain a be􏰁er outcome in their case by seeking a hearing and then se􏰁ling their case before that hearing, for less sanc􏰀ons than ini􏰀ally issued for their conduct. It should be assessed whether the department is giving greater sanc􏰀ons for offenses in hopes that an officer will just se􏰁le for less, thus using sanc􏰀ons in a manner to bluff or force agreement with the department’s case, or if the department is simply undermining its own process and procedures through permi􏰃ng the exploita􏰀on of se􏰁ling cases as a ma􏰁er of expediency.

Se􏰁ling cases in this manner calls into ques􏰀on how sanc􏰀ons are determined to begin with, as well as whether they really mean anything and who they are designed to benefit. Se􏰁ling cases early benefits command staff in that they do not have to prepare for or conduct the departmental hearing. It also creates an informal process which can be taken advantage of by knowledgeable a􏰁orneys and officers, but it is not a widespread, common-knowledge process equally available to all officers. This results in unequal treatment of officers and is unfair. The disciplinary process is undermined as a whole with the department’s current prac􏰀ce of se􏰁ling cases prior to a hearing.

Recommenda􏰀ons:

o Once an employee has elected to disagree with the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve findings and/or sanc􏰀ons and chosen to have a departmental hearing, cases should not be se􏰁led for anything less than the ini􏰀al sanc􏰀ons and there should be no altering of the sustained policies. The employee should be given the opportunity to argue their case, including having sanc􏰀ons reduced, at the hearing.

o If new facts come to light which cause a substan􏰀al ques􏰀on as to the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding or warrant further inves􏰀ga􏰀on, then the disciplinary process should be paused, addi􏰀onal inves􏰀ga􏰀on be conducted, and then another review conducted in order to determine how to proceed. All of this should be documented in wri􏰀ng.

o The bases for the aforemen􏰀oned case se􏰁lements should be reviewed in order to establish whether facts or circumstances warranted it, and the judgment of those who made the decisions should be inves􏰀gated. Any other relevant, discovered policy provision which may have been violated should be inves􏰀gated too.

o Policy should be clarified regarding employee rights and the procedures for actually se􏰁ling a disciplinary ma􏰁er a􏰂er a se􏰁lement mee􏰀ng but prior to a hearing. As it is now, policy reads that employees do not get a third opportunity to accept responsibility for viola􏰀ons of policy and se􏰁le cases (4.10.160 Presen􏰀ng Findings to the Accused Employee, (E)5). It also reads under 4.10.170 Pre-Inves􏰀ga􏰀on Se􏰁lement Agreement Process (12), that the se􏰁lement agreement can occur at any point between receipt of complaint and before the conclusion of a Disciplinary Hearing Advisory Panel. The context and implica􏰀on that a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement can occur a􏰂er an inves􏰀ga􏰀on is complete, is dubious and misleading. Clarifica􏰀on of policy should occur to ensure all employees know their rights, how to access them, and to ensure procedures controlling the process are fair to all, transparent, and not exploitable.

Page 19 of 61

Pertaining to item one (1)(g):

Chief Hagar engages in a pa􏰁ern of deficient communica􏰀on and the a􏰁empted delega􏰀on of his decision-making responsibili􏰀es to others whose rank, posi􏰀on, or role has never had that responsibility, and he appears to minimize his liability by obscuring his role when handling ma􏰁ers.

Chief Hagar engages in a prac􏰀ce of communica􏰀ng certain types of instruc􏰀ons or informa􏰀on, in such a way that others are tasked with doing things that fall outside of their responsibility or established policy. His prac􏰀ce of not wan􏰀ng things traced back to him has even been noted by Commander Starling and Director Morante.

One example involves Lt. Arevalo a􏰁emp􏰀ng to obtain the sanc􏰀on recommenda􏰀ons for Gooch’s case. It took Lt. Arevalo mul􏰀ple a􏰁empts to obtain the sanc􏰀on recommenda􏰀on for the case, and s􏰀ll he was not successful. AC Hagar repeatedly waffled, was unclear, and seemed to turn the decision over to Lt. Arevalo, even though it had never been the prac􏰀ce of OPA determining sanc􏰀ons. There is an email chain dated around March 23, 2023 which should clearly show this. It was always the prac􏰀ce to send an email to the sanc􏰀oning supervisor (captain/commander/chief), and they would respond with a sanc􏰀on which fits within policy.

This interac􏰀on with Hagar exemplified a known issue with his leadership and hesitancy to have certain decisions documented as being his. In the end, Lt. Arevalo had to get Commander Starling to assist, and I recall that Hagar sent Starling a text message with the informa􏰀on which was then forwarded to me to save as an official record of the sanc􏰀on recommenda􏰀on for the case.

Another example of Hagar’s conduct includes when I was newly appointed to OPA and there was no commander. I was helping to develop the OPA response to COB recommenda􏰀ons and inves􏰀ga􏰀ons. During this 􏰀me frame, I had several communica􏰀ons with Chief Hagar, most of which were by phone. During one of these conversa􏰀ons, he told me I needed to ensure that a Form 312 Complaint Report was completed for each COB case.

I acknowledged what he said but did not do as he suggested because departmental policy did not address using an outside en􏰀ty’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on as the basis for the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding on our formal repor􏰀ng. I believed we had a responsibility to review each one, rather than simply stuff it into an officer’s personnel file. Regardless, policy and SOP had not addressed what should be done in this situa􏰀on, and he was not in my chain of command (See next item for more). I do not believe there is anything in wri􏰀ng that was communicated to me about comple􏰀ng these 312 forms.

I would add that another example of using others to handle something he should have and controlling the communica􏰀on regarding it, was the Stephen’s case (IA2023-00058) and how he wanted the 312 documented. Given his involvement in that case and taking personal supervisory ac􏰀ons to control its outcome, he should have been the one to complete the Form 312 rather than sending instruc􏰀ons down to document it in a way that established how it was mishandled. This brought others into the mishandling as intermediaries, further distancing himself from the formal wri􏰁en record. He completed the Form 311 but these are filed away temporarily (usually six months or less) before being shredded.

Page 20 of 61

Addi􏰀onally, I believe that his handling of Lt. Hammond’s case (IA2018-00008) occurred in such a way as to minimize his documented involvement or responsibility, and this is another reason why he was likely not also included in the lawsuit. He has learned how to successfully operate to reduce his liability and use others as shields.

Chief Hagar’s manner of conduc􏰀ng himself as a member of command staff reveals a pa􏰁ern of non-transparency, shi􏰂ing risks onto others, and general untrustworthiness not befi􏰃ng a member of leadership.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Chief Hagar’s communica􏰀on and instruc􏰀on prac􏰀ces should be inves􏰀gated in order to determine whether he has engaged in viola􏰀on of policies, procedures, or general unethical conduct not befi􏰃ng a member of leadership. If his ac􏰀ons are determined to simply be part of a wider departmental prac􏰀ce, the department should cra􏰂 policy and enact procedures to enhance transparency and accountability with respect to supervisory decision making and communica􏰀ng instruc􏰀ons involving disciplinary ma􏰁ers and inves􏰀ga􏰀ons.

Pertaining to item one (1)(h):

Chief Hagar superseding or ignoring chains of command, as well as giving deficient or poor instruc􏰀ons in the process.

Within the first weeks of my tenure at OPA, the Community Oversight Board (COB) began sending an increasing number of Proposed Resolu􏰀on Reports (PRR). It became apparent to me very early on that the quality of the Metro Nashville Community Oversight (MNCO) inves􏰀ga􏰀ons was lacking. They offered both substan􏰀ated and unsubstan􏰀ated findings under wrong policies; they failed to document key facts or did not apply certain facts they did have; cited policies no longer in place; their approach to policy findings was uniquely theirs and not in line with how the MNPD would find; their provision of case file material was not consistent and when they were provided, revealed addi􏰀onal concerns with their inves􏰀ga􏰀ons; and more.

Handling these ma􏰁ers and responding to them was new for the department as a whole; only one previous recommenda􏰀on report had been sent prior to my assignment as the OPA lieutenant. OPA did not have an established process for methodically receiving, reviewing, documen􏰀ng, and responding to these reports. I began the process of crea􏰀ng one alongside Director Morante.

During this, I had intermi􏰁ent contact with Chief Hagar and Debbie Savage. The most relevant communica􏰀ons were those with Chief Hagar, but there should be a few emails around this 􏰀me between us three (Check especially around October 2021 through January 2022). I also had several phone conversa􏰀ons with Chief Hagar.

Page 21 of 61

During one of these phone conversa􏰀ons, Chief Hagar instructed me to complete Form 312’s (Complaint Reports) for all COB issued PRR’s. He did not explain how to reconcile issues in their inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and our lack of a departmental inves􏰀ga􏰀on. He only insisted that their reports were tantamount to a complaint which needed to be documented. With that much I agreed, but a process was needed for mul􏰀ple reasons—especially to protect officers’ due process rights and ensure fairness.

The single greatest concern I had in comple􏰀ng these 312’s was for the rights of officers. Many of the PRR’s submi􏰁ed by the COB involved allega􏰀ons which had not been or were not under inves􏰀ga􏰀on by the MNPD. This means all case facts rested upon the MNCO inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

This in turn created the dilemma of how to complete the Form 312’s. Some cases would require sustaining an officer; others with recording a “not sustained” finding when clearly the officer was “exonerated” or the complaint was “unfounded.” Findings of “exonerated” and “unfounded” are much more favorable to an officer than “not sustained.” It was a ma􏰁er of accurate and fair repor􏰀ng. A􏰂er all, these documents would go into an officer’s personnel or disciplinary file.

At the 􏰀me, it was also not established whether, how, or to what degree the MNPD would inves􏰀gate or re-inves􏰀gate the COB PRR’s. Leaning upon a PRR which had a sustained finding would have been a gross error, but I was also hesitant to do a rushed OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀on into each sustained case because of how I perceived this as jeopardizing the rights of the accused officers.

Some of the COB PRR’s were straigh􏰄orward ma􏰁ers, but others had nuances and complexity. At the end of the day, I wanted documenta􏰀on to reflect the facts as accurately and fairly as possible for all stakeholders: the accused officers, the department in general vis-a-vi a process of integrity, the COB & MNCO whose cases had the poten􏰀al to be true and accurate (and they did have several that iden􏰀fied policy viola􏰀ons which needed to be upheld), and the public who expects officer misconduct to be addressed appropriately.

I did not follow the instruc􏰀ons given to me by Chief Hagar for two primary reasons. Firstly, I did not feel it was right. More needed to be done to ensure accused officers’ rights were safeguarded. I was not willing to stuff the personnel or disciplinary files of accused officers with erroneous or inaccurate documenta􏰀on just so the department could say they had documented complaints. This could affect their career, and it was not fair, especially when we had the ability to do more to address these ma􏰁ers.

Secondly, Chief Hagar was not within my chain of command, and to my knowledge he never communicated his instruc􏰀ons for me to Director Morante. He circumvented the chain of command to get a result he wanted. Chief Hagar would bypass me for other cases, such as Chief Stephens, and I believe he even bypassed Commander Starling and Director Morante for the Covenant leak.

His decisions reflected expedience rather than excellence, and following his instruc􏰀ons would have created problems for the whole department in the future and especially for individual employees. A consistent, fair process needed to be implemented from the start, and we did not have that regarding the COB cases. A process would later be cra􏰂ed, but it was not in place at the 􏰀me his instruc􏰀ons came down to me.

Recommenda􏰀ons:

Page 22 of 61

o The department should enact addi􏰀onal safeguards to ensure that OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and processes remain independent of outside influence.

o Ensure that wri􏰁en policies are established for administra􏰀ve processes and procedures prior to implemen􏰀ng changes which affect officers throughout the department, and publish these updates so that officers are aware of the changes prior to them going into effect.

Pertaining to item (2)(a):

There is a pa􏰁ern of rank bias in inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and sanc􏰀ons in which higher ranking personnel have more favorable outcomes than lower ranking when circumstances or allega􏰀ons are similar.

Lt. Gooch’s case (IA2022-00040) involved him being at a bar for around nine (9) hours one day, ins􏰀ga􏰀ng a confronta􏰀on, following the other patron outside and causing a physical confronta􏰀on requiring the other to act in self-defense, and then ge􏰃ng into his truck and driving off despite being obviously intoxicated. He was subsequently stopped by police but they refrained from working a DUI inves􏰀ga􏰀on, possibly as a result of seeing his badge. All of this was recorded on surveillance and BWC footage obtained during the inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

Despite all of this, he was permi􏰁ed to enter into an employee assistance program which was pro-ac􏰀vely and adamantly pushed by his chain of command and even OPA leadership as a possible way to mi􏰀gate his punishment. This was unprecedented, as policy does not provide for employee assistance or a rehabilita􏰀on program to be used as a means to mi􏰀gate non-substance abuse misconduct.

Historically, rehabilita􏰀on programs are op􏰀ons when officers test posi􏰀ve for prescrip􏰀on drugs and/or alcohol or if they self-report such substance abuse and voluntary seek assistance. Par􏰀cipa􏰀on in such a program is not listed or remotely referenced as a mi􏰀ga􏰀ng factor under 4.10.150 The Disciplinary / Correc􏰀ve Ac􏰀on Grid, C. Aggrava􏰀ng and Mi􏰀ga􏰀ng Factors. Rather, a close inspec􏰀on of that sec􏰀on would reveal several aggrava􏰀ng factors which would apply when sanc􏰀oning this case.

Addi􏰀onally, top-down direc􏰀on and influence came from or through Director Morante and Commander Starling which made it clear that they did not believe the DUI offense should be looked at with specificity since he was not charged with it. I disagreed in conversa􏰀on with them, but understanding the united perspec􏰀ve, I relented. The department has established a precedent that whether an officer is actually charged with a viola􏰀on of law is not directly relevant for whether there was a viola􏰀on of said law and/or other applicable policy for the conduct. The failure of another agency to work a DUI inves􏰀ga􏰀on does not mean that an officer did not engage in a DUI. Even the Nashville

Page 23 of 61

District A􏰁orney’s office has used body cameras and prosecuted DUI’s a􏰂er an officer failed to make an arrest on an obviously DUI individual.

Addi􏰀onally, Lt. Gooch did not appear to be remorseful or completely forthcoming in acknowledging his ac􏰀ons during his interview about the incident, despite being walked into admi􏰃ng viola􏰀ons of policy. In the end, OPA sustained Lt. Gooch for a viola􏰀on of 4.20.040 Personal Behavior, D. Conduct Unbecoming an Employee of the Department and 4.20.050 Official Obliga􏰀ons, K. Use of Alcohol, Drugs, or other Intoxicants.

Chief Hagar rolled the alcohol offense into the conduct unbecoming offense so that he was only sustained and sanc􏰀oned on a single policy viola􏰀on. The fact that the department wanted to downplay the role of alcohol when inves􏰀ga􏰀ng his conduct by overlooking the DUI, while at the same 􏰀me playing up its role as a means of lowering his sanc􏰀ons through the use of a rehabilita􏰀on program, and then removing the alcohol policy offense from being on his disciplinary record by incorpora􏰀ng it into another viola􏰀on, reveals the addi􏰀onal effort leadership is willing to expend in protec􏰀ng certain people engaging in misconduct.

Ini􏰀ally, he was given a thirty-day suspension with a last chance agreement, but he was not demoted. His sanc􏰀ons were decreased a􏰂er this to twenty days. His case and sanc􏰀ons were carefully treated in order to give him a favorable outcome which officers of lower rank do not receive.

A counter example was detec􏰀ve Thorowgood’s case (IA2022-00050). He was a POII (two ranks lower than a lieutenant). He ini􏰀ated an off-duty alterca􏰀on near his home which became physical, but he was sober. The Robertson County grand jury heard the case and did not indict / bring a true-bill. Detec􏰀ve Thorowgood was actually already preparing to leave the MNPD and had a posi􏰀on secured with another agency. He requested a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement to save himself and the department the trouble of a prolonged process. He wanted to admit to his conduct and move forward.

Despite all of this, leadership appeared out for blood in his situa􏰀on and pressured Thorowgood to accept a slightly lower number of suspension days (15 days), as long as he also submi􏰁ed a le􏰁er of uncondi􏰀onal resigna􏰀on. Thorowgood acknowledged he was wrong from the beginning, but he was hesitant to accept so many suspension days when he was already going to be leaving the MNPD.

Both of these cases involve an officer ini􏰀a􏰀ng a physical alterca􏰀on while off-duty, but neither were charged with a viola􏰀on of law under the assault statute. The factors present in the lieutenant’s case were worse. Despite this, he received addi􏰀onal help from leadership to gain a much more favorable outcome; otherwise, he likely would have been terminated. The low-ranking officer received addi􏰀onal pressure and antagonism from leadership to force him out, possibly because there was some actual publicity on his case in which the ci􏰀zen posted a YouTube video.

It is my assessment that whether something receives public outcry or not should be irrelevant; all of these ma􏰁ers are ul􏰀mately ma􏰁ers of public record. Moreover, some ci􏰀zens and situa􏰀ons simply do not get the a􏰁en􏰀on others do. An objec􏰀ve and fair process should be cra􏰂ed which does not bend to the whims and winds of the public but would s􏰀ll stand up to their scru􏰀ny. The visibility of those harmed by police misconduct should not influence the outcome of the process.

Another case which provides a contrast in how rank affects an accused employee’s departure from the MNPD would be Captain Hunsicker’s case (IA2022-00004). In this case, both he and Julia

Page 24 of 61

Hooper were part of a very prolonged preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on by OPA in which more than twenty (20) witnesses within the Crime Lab were interviewed.

There were numerous corroborated accounts from witnesses about their supervisory conduct, to include: a bathroom sign-in/out board; monitoring employees through cameras and commen􏰀ng about their produc􏰀vity or other ac􏰀ons; commen􏰀ng one black employee had “corn bread cheeks”; one unit of all-black employees had their only window covered up because they were supposedly looking outside too much; that same unit was not invited to a pizza party but at least one person had to go get that food; that same unit was bypassed when tours of the division were given; and a mul􏰀tude of other comments and ac􏰀ons which caused employees distress and made their work environment toxic. The turn-over rate drama􏰀cally increased and resulted in jeopardizing the accredita􏰀on of the lab itself, even causing them to have to outsource toxicology tes􏰀ng of DUI blood evidence kits.

Hunsicker was going to re􏰀re while the inves􏰀ga􏰀on was open, thus leaving in bad standing. However, command staff convinced him to enter into a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement and then re􏰀re, but Hooper did not want such a deal ini􏰀ally. She had an eight (8) hour interview with OPA. A􏰂erwards, she sought to re􏰀re. She was permi􏰁ed to enter into a “pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement” despite the inves􏰀ga􏰀on having been completed at that point, and the chiefs permi􏰁ed it. Hunsicker received twelve (12) suspension days for Workplace Conduct, while Hooper received ten (10) days for it.

Unlike Thorowgood who was pressured on his way out, Hunsicker was assisted with resolving his case with a more favorable outcome, despite his willingness to leave with it s􏰀ll open, in order to help him leave in good standing. Hooper was permi􏰁ed to go through the whole process and s􏰀ll enter into a pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lement, which does not seem an appropriate way to view her circumstances as the detec􏰀ve was finished with her case and had to interview her anyway.

Thorowgood’s conduct was unacceptable. So was Hunsicker and Hooper’s. When the details Hunsicker and Hooper’s case are thoroughly examined, I would argue that their situa􏰀on was worse; more people were harmed by their conduct. The supervisors were helped by command staff with their cases; the POII officer was hindered. Addi􏰀onally, the supervisors harmed subordinates, and command staff approved se􏰁lements which arguably made light of the significance of what the inves􏰀ga􏰀on had uncovered. I believe this is another instance of rank bias and supervisors protec􏰀ng other supervisors.

On another case (IA2022-00021), Sgt. Eubanks was offered demo􏰀on when his management of an officer and an arrestee could have resulted in death or serious bodily injury (strictly speaking the arrestee did go into ventricular fibrilla􏰀on and would likely have died if they were not at the hospital at that 􏰀me), and Sergeant Bre􏰁 Kenney was offered demo􏰀on in response to his escala􏰀on and use of force against a group of juveniles resul􏰀ng in injury. Contrarily, Lieutenant Gooch’s drunken bar fight and Lt. Schmitz injuring a female officer did not result in demo􏰀on being sought in the end.

There is a general prac􏰀ce than when a higher-ranking supervisor engages in conduct which harms a member of the public or subordinate, that supervisor does not face propor􏰀onate consequences. A lower ranking officer in similar severity circumstances generally will receive worse punishment.

Page 25 of 61

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Establish policy and procedures to improve the consistency, objec􏰀vity, and fairness of how employees are sanc􏰀oned.

o Establish an objec􏰀ve and consistent policy regarding how the department will administra􏰀vely view an officer’s conduct when it appears to be a viola􏰀on of law. This standard should be sufficient to resist emo􏰀onal and poli􏰀cal outcry, as well as account for when an agency or even the District A􏰁orney’s office chooses not to arrest or prosecute the officer. There should be consistency in how an officer who commits a readily apparent criminal offense is inves􏰀gated and sustained, regardless of factors outside the department’s control. Cherry picking which criminal offenses warrant being treated as viola􏰀ons of law is subject to too much bias and is unfair.

o Review na􏰀onwide best prac􏰀ces for disciplining officers and seek external input.

o Establish in policy that higher-ranking employees will generally be issued a higher sanc􏰀on for the same conduct commi􏰁ed by a lower ranking employee. This should be done to reflect the importance and poten􏰀al impact of leadership’s conduct and effect on organiza􏰀onal culture and that their supervisory KSA’s should reduce their propensity for viola􏰀ng policy in the first place.

Pertaining to item (2)(b):

The strictly tailored language in documenta􏰀on (to include case summaries and other disciplinary paperwork) for employees of higher rank accused of serious viola􏰀ons of policy, as well as the special a􏰁en􏰀on cases with high-ranking employees receive, shows examples of rank bias and favorable treatment of certain employees over others.

There have been several instances in which command staff has worked out deals which result in favorable resolu􏰀ons for other supervisors and reduce the wri􏰁en language placed on forms or summaries. Some of these cases include Captain Hunsicker and Director Hooper’s case (IA2022-00004), Chief Taylor (IA2022-00003), Chief Stephens (IA2023-00058).

In Hunsicker and Hooper’s case, the Form 312’s language was greatly reduced and non- descrip􏰀ve of what was actually alleged. Moreover, the language of their admissions watered-down and passive. While it was a common prac􏰀ce for the language on 312 Forms to be simplified because they would be accompanied by OPA case summaries, the final case summary for their cases was reduced to a single page at the instruc􏰀on of the chiefs (Chief Hagar, I believe).

Page 26 of 61

The department catered to the accused employees and cra􏰂ed very specific language to go onto the Form 312 and case summary which would give the public zero idea as to the gravity of the allega􏰀ons made against them.

In Taylor’s case, the department was interested in pursuing a mutually beneficial separa􏰀on in which he would re􏰀re and the case would be closed out. This process was permi􏰁ed to become a prolonged, drawn-out ma􏰁er in order to avoid it going to a hearing. In the end, Chief Hagar dropped the Workplace Conduct charge and only sanc􏰀oned him on his poli􏰀cal ac􏰀vi􏰀es and the no􏰀fica􏰀on of transfers.

In Stephen’s case, Chief Hagar helped with the inves􏰀ga􏰀on and instructed that a Form 312 be completed which sani􏰀zed the wri􏰁en record with the purpose of clearing Stephens of any wrongdoing. Compounding this is the language of the Form 311 that Chief Hagar completed as a part of protec􏰀ng Stephens. It included language which requires special a􏰁en􏰀on, and here it is in full:

During the course of an inves􏰀ga􏰀on, several facts were revealed which suggest that DCOP Stephens created the percep􏰀on or allowed the percep􏰀on to exist that he may not have been ac􏰀ng impar􏰀ally (as required by MNPD Manual 4.20.040, Personal Behavior, W. Ac􏰀ng Impar􏰀ally).

This policy was reviewed with DCOP Stephens and a discussion occurred regarding both the intent and applica􏰀on of the policy as well as percep􏰀on.

It has been said that percep􏰀on is reality; that if something is perceived, then it might as well be as it becomes the truth in peoples minds.

DCOP acknowledged an understanding and awareness of the issues. He expressed great dismay that a friend and co-worker had created a situa􏰀on that allowed a mis-percep􏰀on to exist and that co-worker had, upon discussion about the ma􏰁er, lied to DCOP Stephens.

DCOP Stephens expressed how much he has grown professionally from this experience and, importantly, the need to avoid percep􏰀on of friendships, favori􏰀sm, or the appearance of giving unfair preferen􏰀al treatment to one person or group at the expense of another-even if not true.

DCOP Stephens acknowledges and understanding of his role, responsibili􏰀es and du􏰀es as a deputy chief and the importance of ensuring that the workplace remains free from undue influences and mispercep􏰀ons.

DCOP Stephens is also more aware of his responsibili􏰀es to ensure that his supervisory chain of command is appropriately made aware of concerning issues regardless of any belief that no􏰀fica􏰀ons were previously made.

The counseling was also approved by ACOP Greene.

Page 27 of 61

This Form 311 (Remedial Counseling Report) was signed on September 5, 2023 by both Chief Stephens and Chief Hagar. Given prac􏰀ces Hagar engages in, it is quite rich how he gives advice he should be following. Se􏰃ng this aside, the language of the 311 reads as a document which is designed to exonerate and protect Stephens while pu􏰃ng all of the blame on Commander Newbern. Hagar intervened as if he could wave a magic wand and make the basis for Stephens’ inves􏰀ga􏰀on disappear, but the language Hagar used makes it clear that a reasonable belief existed which jus􏰀fied the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the allega􏰀on.

As noted above and in other places within this overall complaint (such as with Schmitz’s case), it is apparent that the MNPD leadership take a so􏰂 approach when sanc􏰀oning how other supervisors harm subordinates. It also apparent that the MNPD puts extra effort into helping high-ranking employees when they are accused so that they receive a more favorable outcome, going as far as taking the extra effort to ar􏰀culate formal documenta􏰀on to their benefit while playing loose with their interpreta􏰀on of policy if it will benefit another supervisor.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Establish a policy or procedural safeguard which prevents rank bias and protec􏰀on of high- ranking supervisors who have been accused of misconduct.

o Increase the severity of sanc􏰀ons for supervisors in general and especially when an employee has been harmed by their conduct.

o Consider external review of cases or proposed sanc􏰀ons for members of command staff (captain rank and above). A panel comprised of members from the Mayor’s office and/or CRB may help ensure that members of rank are not given preferen􏰀al treatment and that these ma􏰁ers are handled fairly.

Pertaining to item (2)(c):

The lack of documenta􏰀on and subsequent termina􏰀on of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Don Aaron’s treatment of News Channel 2 reporter Kenley Harge􏰁.

Kenley Harge􏰁’s allega􏰀on that Don Aaron mistreated him, even ini􏰀ally alleging a possible assault, resulted in a secre􏰀ve inves􏰀ga􏰀on conducted by Det. Ron Carter. I only learned of this inves􏰀ga􏰀on a􏰂er it had been going on for an amount of 􏰀me that remains unclear to me even now.

Det. Carter conducted some interviews and reviewed footage related to the incident. Eventually, he had conducted enough of an inves􏰀ga􏰀on to determine that there did not appear to be an assault,

Page 28 of 61

but there was a confronta􏰀on which could have been a viola􏰀on of policy related to Courtesy or Self- Control. This would require addi􏰀onal inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

This occurred before I took a temporary leave to a􏰁end Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command, which was in May 2023. One of the last items I was tasked with by Director Morante before leaving for SPSC was to a􏰁empt to get both Harge􏰁 and Aaron to agree to mediate the ma􏰁er. I am not sure that this ma􏰁er, strictly speaking, was eligible for media􏰀on given what was known about Don’s conduct.

I followed instruc􏰀ons and called Harge􏰁 first. I explained what media􏰀on was; that it was op􏰀onal; that it was voluntary; and that if he did not wish to do it, the inves􏰀ga􏰀on would run its normal course. He expressed some interest, though with reserva􏰀ons, and requested that one or two other co- workers who witnessed Aaron’s behavior be able to a􏰁end as well.

I contacted Don Aaron and had a similar conversa􏰀on. He had reserva􏰀ons too, but he seemed interested in the idea of it quashing the ma􏰁er. In my opinion, he s􏰀ll seemed to be shi􏰂ing the blame towards Harge􏰁, and I worried this would not bode well for the media􏰀on itself. However, if he a􏰁ended, I felt confident that the mediator could navigate such things.

I then sent an email to the Nashville Conflict Resolu􏰀on Center (NCRC). I provided the ini􏰀al informa􏰀on for their intake in the email. Because nothing had been documented in IAPro yet for this allega􏰀on, I made an ini􏰀al entry under a MOR number (MR2023-00047). I wanted there to be something in the system, just in case. It was not uncommon for inves􏰀ga􏰀ons to take place for a while before any formal, wri􏰁en record was made, but I wanted to ensure something was in the system before leaving for SPSC. A new case number could be assigned when needed.

I think it was about two weeks later when I received an email from the NCRC that they had been able to get in contact with Kenly Harge􏰁, and he declined to go forward with media􏰀on. I forwarded this email to Commander Starling and Director Morante to no􏰀fy them that media􏰀on would not be possible for Don’s case. I don’t believe I said much more than this in the email. I knew they would understand the implica􏰀ons, and because I had started SPSC, I did not involve myself any further. I presumed they would assign the case and have it taken to its factual conclusion, in accordance with policy since media􏰀on was not happening. If media􏰀on fails or cannot be done for a complaint, the inves􏰀ga􏰀on is supposed to be completed per its normal procedures.

When I returned from SPSC in the first week of August 2023, at some point I was talking to Det. Carter in order to be caught up on any important events which had taken place. I asked him how that inves􏰀ga􏰀on worked out. He said that he was told that Chief Drake had just had a conversa􏰀on with Don Aaron about the ma􏰁er and that was it. Nothing else happened.

There should have been a full inves􏰀ga􏰀on, with a full conclusion of facts, and full documenta􏰀on on departmental forms, to include a Form 312. I looked what I could up in the system, and I could find no other documenta􏰀on rela􏰀ng to the allega􏰀on. I looked up Don Aaron’s history, and I saw nothing other than crash or damage to property reports in his history.

This was surprising too because I had heard from Commander Starling, Director Morante, and Det. Carter than Don Aaron had been known to act or speak a certain way with others in the media—this

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was said in the context that they were not too surprised about the allega􏰀on from Kenly Harge􏰁. The implica􏰀on from this is that other past events had been swept under the rug as well.

How Harge􏰁’s allega􏰀on regarding Don Aaron was handled highlights yet another example of how certain individuals within the department, especially of a certain rank or if they are liked enough, are shown preferen􏰀al treatment and protec􏰀on from the complaint process. Employees generally view Don Aaron as having a high rank, and he has been on with the department for a very long 􏰀me, thus he has a tenure or seniority recognized accordingly.

I also do not believe that an offense report was ever completed to document the ini􏰀al allega􏰀on made by Harge􏰁 which was perceived as an assault at the 􏰀me. It is common prac􏰀ce that when a ci􏰀zen alleges an officer assaulted them, these reports are generally done. A criminal detec􏰀ve is assigned to work the case, and it is usually presented to the DA’s office for considera􏰀on in order to determine whether it is something they will prosecute.

These assault allega􏰀ons result in an inves􏰀ga􏰀on which is also a mechanism by which the accused is cleared. By not documen􏰀ng this on an offense report, it creates less of a paper trail and obviously decreased possible consequences for Don Aaron. If an allega􏰀on was made by Kenly Harge􏰁 that Don Aaron had engaged in assaul􏰀ve behavior, even if just by in􏰀mida􏰀on, then an offense report should have been done, irrespec􏰀ve of any other administra􏰀ve inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Don Aaron’s conduct.

The way this case was handled benefi􏰁ed the accused employee, in this case Don Aaron, in ways that others do not receive when actual complaint policy and procedure are handled. The lack of uniformity in the disciplinary and inves􏰀ga􏰀ve process undermines it as a whole and further tarnishes the trustworthiness of those making decisions. It is unclear what role Director Morante and Commander Starling played in either facilita􏰀ng or a􏰁emp􏰀ng to correct how this case was mishandled.

This is another notable instance of high-ranking supervisors subver􏰀ng the disciplinary process to protect another tenured or high-ranking employee.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Resume the inves􏰀ga􏰀on into Don Aaron’s conduct and come to an actual inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding. Complete all the relevant inves􏰀ga􏰀ve and disciplinary paperwork to resolve this ma􏰁er.

o Iden􏰀fy what occurred and who was responsible for abor􏰀ng handling this case in accordance with policy and procedures; address this accordingly.

Pertaining to item (2)(d):

Accountability of supervisors is deficient in the MNPD, and there is prac􏰀ce of transferring personnel of captain rank and above without formal inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, documenta􏰀on, or findings, despite the basis for such transfers being due to pa􏰁erns of poor supervisory performance.

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The MNPD, in general, has a current cultural crisis involving failures driven by leadership, from the top- down, involving the lower standards for supervisors fulfilling their responsibility, despite what is required with 4.20.020 Control Provisions:

  1. Recognize the importance of clearly established policies and procedures governing employee conduct, personal behavior, official obliga􏰀ons, courtesy, and appearance;

  2. Recognize the importance and benefits of proper discipline and professional bearing;

E. Recognize the importance of uniform correc􏰀ve ac􏰀ons and support such ac􏰀ons ini􏰀ated by other supervisors when the ac􏰀on is appropriate. A supervisor will also intervene on any correc􏰀ve ac􏰀on ini􏰀ated by another that is found to be inappropriate.

This is evidenced by the influence of high-ranking supervisors driving disciplinary outcomes based upon their discre􏰀on and ulterior mo􏰀ves rather than objec􏰀ve, fact-driven inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and decisions bound by policy. As noted, there have been instances of selec􏰀ve enforcement of policy provisions, and leadership o􏰂en exercise their authority to help other ranking supervisors achieve be􏰁er outcomes (rank bias) while lower ranking officers (generally POII rank) are hurt with worse outcomes.

Generally, higher-ranking supervisors are believed to be held to a higher-standard given their knowledge, seniority, and the example they set for the rest of the department. This belief is commonly held among others within law enforcement, especially among field experts within internal affairs and police policy and discipline, such as instructors with Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command and na􏰀onal conferences on these topics.

Despite this, the MNPD has a culture of protec􏰀ng high-ranking supervisors, providing be􏰁er outcomes, interfering with inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, taking advantage of a manipulatable disciplinary policy, and even not documen􏰀ng complaints or failures in performance at all so that no wri􏰁en record exists—thus limi􏰀ng knowledge of misconduct to a very small group of individuals and removing it from public record discovery.

This situa􏰀on is what some have historically called a “good ole boy” system designed to protect those within the group. 4.20.050 Official Obliga􏰀ons, F. Deficient or Inefficient Performance of Du􏰀es is commonly used for a significant occurrence or repeated occurrences of poor performance regarding a job task or responsibility. It is used with regularity to address POII performance, but it is very rarely used to address a supervisor’s failure to supervise, as noted under:

4. Failure to supervise and/or carry out the du􏰀es and/or the responsibili􏰀es of a supervisor;

The primary duty and responsibility of a supervisor is that of managing and leading their subordinates. While this policy does not mean that every supervisory failure is categorically and only a failure to supervise, the department’s aversion to ci􏰀ng this policy when supervisors have failed in their role is striking and evidence of protec􏰀onism among the higher ranks.

O􏰂en, upper leadership will resolve these complaints under alterna􏰀ve policy provisions, such as 4.20.040 Personal Behavior, I. Responsibility, because high ranking supervisors perceive a viola􏰀on under

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Failure to Supervise is a “black-eye” on a supervisor’s career. Because of this, they look for alterna􏰀ve ways to se􏰁le cases or direct inves􏰀ga􏰀ve findings. (See Tennant’s case referenced herein)

Another common way of avoiding addressing a supervisor’s failure to supervise is to simply transfer a high-ranking supervisor to another posi􏰀on or role in the department without actually opening a formal inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the conduct believed to warrant the transfer. This tac􏰀c is o􏰂en used for moving captains, commanders, and above. This typically occurs when a supervisor is having repeated issues with their performance in their assignment. Higher ranking supervisors will have conversa􏰀ons with the problem supervisor about their performance, un􏰀l finally the issue has become too great or repe􏰀􏰀ve, and then the supervisor is transferred.

POII officers are rou􏰀nely wri􏰁en up and addressed formally when they engage in a pa􏰁ern of poor performance in their assignment. They are rarely, if ever, given the opportunity to transfer to another assignment in order to have the opportunity to succeed there. Instead, when their performance is addressed, it is handled formally through the disciplinary process and policy. This creates a record in the officer’s disciplinary or personnel file, and it has the poten􏰀al to affect their annual evalua􏰀on.

Handling a supervisor’s pa􏰁ern of poor performance non-formally through a simple transfer without crea􏰀ng a formal, wri􏰁en record in accordance with disciplinary procedures dispropor􏰀onately benefits supervisors. The result is that higher ranking supervisors especially benefit in being able to bounce around without formally having it put on their record; nevertheless, the performance issues are usually ma􏰁ers of widespread knowledge with many giving their own anecdotes and knowledge about the issues.

Doing this enables the problem supervisor’s supervisor to transfer a problema􏰀c subordinate without having to actually formally inves􏰀gate, gather facts, conduct interviews, create a wri􏰁en record, and possibly have to defend their case through the whole disciplinary process; they cannot have their case refuted or overturned. This limits an accused employee’s op􏰀ons for redress and for defending themselves because the ac􏰀on taken against them was not done so as “discipline.”

This refrain that “transfers are not disciplinary” has existed for a long 􏰀me within the department. By this reasoning, I would argue that the department’s prac􏰀ce of using transfers to avoid wri􏰀ng personnel up formally is proof that they do not discipline supervisors for their poor performance as they frequently would a lower ranking officer. If this prac􏰀ce is what Chief Drake desires for his supervisors, he should at least extend this professional courtesy to officers of all rank.

I do not know of any occurrence in which a patrol officer was given the opportunity to transfer out to another non-patrol assignment in order to provide them the opportunity to succeed in a different role, in lieu of formal discipline. Rather, patrol is o􏰂en treated as the dumping ground for police officers of any rank when they are perceived as problem employees or not being successful in a non-patrol assignment. This s􏰀gma􏰀zes one of the few actual “essen􏰀al” assignments of the MNPD, and it places employees who are already having performance issues in one of the most complex, dynamic, KSA demanding, and stressful roles within the department.

Patrol officer assignments o􏰂en limit the ability of personnel to have 􏰀me off from work, further exacerba􏰀ng the stressors, and the aforemen􏰀oned factors func􏰀on as the insidious way in which transfers to patrol serve as punishment. Using patrol as an informal punishment for officers also

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undermines the cri􏰀cal role it serves and insults those who do it well and prefer that role over other assignments.

Regardless, to my knowledge there is no provision within policy that permits the transfer of personnel in lieu of using the disciplinary process. I could conceive of crea􏰀ng such an op􏰀on within policy, but this would require extensive considera􏰀on and language to ensure it is not abused. It would require a process which honors the public’s trust and is not detrimental to the department’s mission, efficiency, effec􏰀veness, and integrity.

I do believe that some personnel may be in posi􏰀ons or roles for which they are not suited. If an employee’s performance issues appear to be 􏰀ed to their ability to perform in their specific role (rather than due to a lack of character or overall ability or judgment), then transfers may provide a means to foster organiza􏰀onal success. Organiza􏰀ons can create environments and condi􏰀ons which promote poor performance, failure, and leave individuals vulnerable to engaging in viola􏰀ons. It could be in the best interest of officers, the department, and the public to recognize these special circumstances and provide an “out.”

The prac􏰀ce already exists and is used with bias for the benefit of higher-ranking supervisors. It should either be completely eliminated or carefully and methodically cra􏰂ed into a transparent process which can benefit all.

Inves􏰀ga􏰀ng this issue of transferring supervisors in lieu of formal disciplinary ac􏰀on will have difficul􏰀es given the lack of wri􏰁en records.

Recommenda􏰀ons:

o The MNPD should commit to holding supervisors to a higher standard.

o The MNPD should review transfers of high-ranking supervisors, especially captain rank and above, and determine whether the basis for such transfers was due to performance issues and if so, whether these were properly documented and addressed in accordance with policy.

o The MNPD should require that the basis for all transfers be formally documented on a departmental form in order to create a transparent wri􏰁en record.

o The MNPD should decide whether it wants to permit transfers in lieu of disciplinary ac􏰀on, establish this in policy, and ensure it is uniformly applied to all ranks.

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Pertaining to item (2)(e):

Command Staff outside of OPA is overly involved in and influencing how inves􏰀ga􏰀ons are conducted, and this can be used to lessen or worsen outcomes for the accused, irrespec􏰀ve of the actual case facts.

Chief Stephens’ case (IA2023-00058), Commander Newbern’s case (IA2023-00067), the covenant leak case (IA2023-00094), Hunsicker and Hooper’s case (IA2022-00004), and Chief Taylor’s (IA2022- 00003) could also fall within this. too. The example I will focus on here involves then-lieutenant Tennant.

Lt. Tennant’s case (IA2023-00043) involved conduct which Chief Greene wanted considered under Responsibility versus Failure to Supervise. Lt. Tennant’s case and Det. Sgt. Sofer’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on were influenced by communica􏰀on from Asst. Chief Greene and/or Deputy Chief Carrigan inquiring and direc􏰀ng the inves􏰀ga􏰀on out of a biased preference for Lt. Tennant due to his past role(s) in the department, as well as out of a concern for him assuming a new posi􏰀on with limited assistance, support, and resources.

Because of this, I believe Asst. Chief Greene felt some responsibility for mi􏰀ga􏰀ng the fallout from Lt. Tennant’s failure to supervise in his role at the 􏰀me of the inves􏰀ga􏰀on, and he did not want a finding of 4.20.050 Official Obliga􏰀ons, F (4) to be on his disciplinary history. He had also iden􏰀fied him for promo􏰀on.

This resulted in communica􏰀on up and down the chain through Commander Starling and Chief Greene primarily, which resulted in conversa􏰀on with Sgt. Sofer. This in turn influenced how OPA Det. Sgt. Sofer viewed his inves􏰀ga􏰀on, as well as the subsequent fact analysis in order to come to a specific finding in keeping with Chief Greene’s desire.

Rather than drawing the readily apparent conclusion that Lt. Tennant failed to supervise, his supervisory responsibility was minimized. These conversa􏰀ons regarding the case direc􏰀on occurred without me, and I discovered deficiencies in the course of reviewing of Sofer’s inves􏰀ga􏰀ve case file which led me to wonder why this par􏰀cular conclusion was amiss. This is when the conversa􏰀ons between he and Commander Starling came to light. Subsequently, Commander Starling revealed they had taken place as well due to how significant my correc􏰀ons to the inves􏰀ga􏰀on would be.

They would be markedly different than what Chief Greene was hoping to see given his discussions with Commander Starling, but Starling said he would just have to explain the facts I highlighted to Greene. My review of the facts while oblivious to the prior understanding threw a wrench in what had been put in mo􏰀on.

Sgt. Sofer had not been at OPA for a full year at this 􏰀me, and I believe he was open to and looking for direc􏰀on on some aspects of his case. I was a􏰁ending Northwestern SPSC at the 􏰀me he was assigned the case. I do not believe it was his inten􏰀on to cover up details; rather, he was s􏰀ll learning and this situa􏰀on presented an easy opportunity for command staff to interject and direct his a􏰁en􏰀on in his fact finding. I say this to emphasize that I do not personally believe he was engaging in any misconduct, and I discussed the issues I iden􏰀fied with him, gave correc􏰀ons, and coached him in light of what I discovered.

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During the review of his inves􏰀ga􏰀on, I no􏰀ced one thing a􏰂er another, and this led to an increasingly deeper review of the interviews and gathered facts. While some􏰀mes my correc􏰀ons for cases were light and notes in the margin of the case summary or on s􏰀cky notes was sufficient for send- backs, this case was one in which I created a separate document. As was my habit in these instances, I opened an email and typed out my correc􏰀ons. Rather than send the email, I saved it as a dra􏰂 (or may have moved it to a sub-folder), and I then printed the email out and a􏰁ached it to the case file for the send-back. OPA should be able to locate a copy of this within my metro email to verify my concerns. I don’t think I ever deleted these.

This par􏰀cular send-back was somewhat lengthy, and I denoted the mul􏰀ple reasons for why I believed his inves􏰀ga􏰀on had gathered the facts and made the case for a viola􏰀on of failure to supervise, rather than some other policy like responsibility. My review was thorough and irrefutable, and Commander Starling recognized that the facts I presented warranted reconsidering the conversa􏰀on and prior decision made with Chief Greene.

At the heart of this case was the fact that Lt. Tennant had personally discovered that officers under his supervision were viola􏰀ng policy with regards to vehicle modifica􏰀ons and altera􏰀ons. Even though he knew this and personally believed they should not be doing these things to their vehicles, he did not intervene. A supervisor should bring their subordinates back into policy compliance, and he could have done this through the disciplinary process or even just causing the appropriate paperwork to be filed and approvals sought for the modifica􏰀ons. Neither of these occurred.

Eventually, Fleet discovered the issue which was affec􏰀ng mul􏰀ple vehicles assigned under Lt. Tennant. The modifica􏰀ons had been done or occurred over the course of at least one year, with Tennant aware of this. In order to address the issue, there was a series of communica􏰀ons up and down Tennant’s chain of command, and he did not properly communicate instruc􏰀ons to his sergeants. In turn, they would allow officers to sneak into the Fleet lot a􏰂er hours to undo modifica􏰀ons on a vehicle.

These officers were discovered at the locked and secured lot during this 􏰀me. Other concerns came to light at this 􏰀me, and OPA ini􏰀ated an inves􏰀ga􏰀on because of this. To bring this full circle, if Lt. Tennant had just upheld his supervisory responsibili􏰀es at two key points in this whole series of events, officers and a sergeant under his supervision would not have been sustained on policy viola􏰀ons by OPA. His failure to act created circumstances which resulted in subordinates viola􏰀ng policies.

His failure to act as a supervisor and manage this issue with his subordinates allowed misconduct to occur. While the underlying conduct in ques􏰀on was just the modifica􏰀on of vehicles and not some other significant act of misconduct, he had knowledge of it and disregarded it. Addi􏰀onally, other aspects of his supervision and his responses/demeanor during the interview made it appear he was minimizing various aspects the whole situa􏰀on and not taking ownership for what occurred.

Despite the case and the facts gathered during it, it has come to my a􏰁en􏰀on that Tennant was recently promoted to the rank of captain. These leads to two possibili􏰀es. One is that during the disciplinary process, the finding was s􏰀ll changed to a different policy such as the one Chief Greene originally wanted (Responsibility) rather than failure to supervise, or the alterna􏰀ve, is that despite sustaining and sanc􏰀oning the lieutenant on the failure to supervise, they decided to promote him to captain anyway. Both of these present problems.

Page 35 of 61

In the first instance, it would highlight that command staff will overlook facts in order to get the outcome they want on a ma􏰁er. This enables protec􏰀ng and punishing those they want, regardless of the actual jus􏰀fica􏰀on. In the second instance, the department would be proving that promo􏰀ons are not based on merit or qualifica􏰀ons and that “failing upwards” is alive and well at the MNPD.

This is a radical issue which is of paramount concern and should not be minimized. This is command staff cherry-picking winners and losers through the manipula􏰀on of the internal affairs inves􏰀ga􏰀ve process. If command staff is allowed to influence inves􏰀ga􏰀ons in order to achieve be􏰁er outcomes for certain employees, the same process can be used to achieve worse outcomes for others. This has been done in the past.

Safeguards must be enacted and maintained which protect the integrity of OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀ons from being meddled with by other command staff. The process must be protected. It is one thing to communicate important inves􏰀ga􏰀ve events which may affect another division’s manpower for a period of 􏰀me, and it is en􏰀rely another to affect the course of an inves􏰀ga􏰀on and the integrity of overall departmental opera􏰀ons.

The credibility, integrity, dependability, and consistency of OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀ons is jeopardized when they are permi􏰁ed to be influenced by anything other than exis􏰀ng departmental policy, procedures, IA best prac􏰀ces and training, law, and actual case facts. Anything else can be assumed to be biased and a step toward the slippery slope of corrup􏰀on.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o The final outcome of the disciplinary ma􏰁er for Tennant’s case should be reviewed in order to determine whether it was based on actual case fact. If not, the supervisor(s) responsible for ignoring policy and facts should be inves􏰀gated and disciplined accordingly.

o The MNPD should enact policy and procedural safeguards which isolate OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀ons from influence from other divisions and supervisors, regardless of rank, to ensure it remains as independent and fact-oriented as possible within the MNPD.

Pertaining to item (2)(f):

Department prac􏰀ce of inten􏰀onally keeping things not documented in wri􏰁en records to prevent discovery during legal request to produce records. Oral communica􏰀on is priori􏰀zed in order to minimize a paper trail. This also facilitates the ability of upper leadership to use the refrain “I don’t remember” during interviews, knowing with reliability that li􏰁le to no wri􏰁en evidence exists which elucidates their ac􏰀ons or communica􏰀on at the 􏰀me of making certain decisions.

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This also relates to some of Chief Hagar’s ac􏰀ons, but this is a department wide issue among primarily upper leadership (captain and above). One notable example of how this is a common prac􏰀ce involves communica􏰀on with Chief Gilder.

During the process of concluding how command staff wanted Chief Stephens’ case handled, I had contact with Chief Gilder on at least two occasions (this would have been late October to middle November of 2023). During a phone conversa􏰀on, Chief Gilder stated that he “didn’t want to create more of an email trail because I’m 99% sure that we’ll end up in a lawsuit with Newbern” and “the phone is our friend” as his email was under constant hold due to li􏰀ga􏰀on involving the department, and he is not allowed to delete anything.

He also went on to provide limita􏰀ons and specifics on how to send an email to him, and the context was clear to me that he did not want certain informa􏰀on put in wri􏰀ng.

It was abundantly clear from this conversa􏰀on that Chief Gilder himself engages in a prac􏰀ce of limi􏰀ng was goes into wri􏰁en record, down to his email, to limit what can be discovered by others. The only “others” who would be looking would be internal inves􏰀gators, such as OPA, or some source of external accountability or legal process.

Along with Hagar’s ac􏰀ons, this prac􏰀ce of keeping things out of his email and from being discovered is an example of a greater prac􏰀ce among leadership to avoid public accountability and scru􏰀ny. It is an example of conduct which betrays public trust, and it reduces the available evidence and lines of reasoning and communica􏰀on which could result in command staff personnel being liable for a decision they made or an issue they failed to handle appropriately.

Addi􏰀onally, by keeping things off any wri􏰁en record, it limits a significant amount of communica􏰀on to being verbal, and this in turn, is subject to convenient forge􏰄ulness. It is too easy for supervisors to say “I don’t remember” when being asked about an interac􏰀on, communica􏰀on, or instruc􏰀on given or received when there was no recording or wri􏰁en record. This provides an easy out to avoid accountability.

This is an issue which will be difficult to inves􏰀gate without the honest admissions of those involved, because at the heart of it is looking for the absence of things. It is this absence of communica􏰀on, reasoning, and jus􏰀fica􏰀ons which are sani􏰀zed from wri􏰁en records which enables upper leadership to more easily avoid personal accountability for their decision making and failures, and it serves to protect them over and against the public.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Review departmental communica􏰀on prac􏰀ces among command staff and enact policy which prohibits supervisors from restric􏰀ng wri􏰁en communica􏰀on for the purpose of preven􏰀ng the crea􏰀on of records which can be subject to open record requests and subpoenas.

o If this issue is not part of a broader departmental prac􏰀ce and is limited to a small group of supervisors (such as Hagar and Gilder) then they should be inves􏰀gated accordingly.

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Pertaining to item (2)(g):

Ma􏰁ers of integrity are being mishandled.

These ma􏰁ers are one which have not set well with me for much of my 􏰀me as the Office of Professional Accountability Lieutenant. Even while doing what was expected of me, following past precedent, and instruc􏰀ons which came down the chain, I did not always agree with certain decisions or how things were being handled.

The department has already demonstrated a new trend of resolving integrity related misconduct under other policies which permit sanc􏰀oning op􏰀ons to retain the employees. For example, a sustained viola􏰀on of Honesty & Truthfulness may be resolved under Conduct Unbecoming an Employee of the Department or Responsibility. This is done in order to have more room for issuing sanc􏰀ons other than dismissal from the department (which is the historic punishment and the only grid chart sanc􏰀on for that viola􏰀on).

This benefits the officer as they do not lose their job. The department can say they took ac􏰀on, and once a sanc􏰀on has been given and served, it legally cannot be overturned.

The alarming trend is that the department is increasingly showing a tendency of retaining employees who have already demonstrated a willingness to either ini􏰀ate, or in response to an inquiry, mislead, lie, or fabricate circumstances and statements (wri􏰁en or oral) in order to protect themselves. The department’s emerging prac􏰀ce results in reten􏰀on of personnel who cannot reasonably be trusted to dispense with the necessary responsibili􏰀es and roles of a police officer or give a truthful account of past ac􏰀ons.

These officers may find themselves providing tes􏰀mony in court or in future inquiries in which the officer may face an even worse disciplinary, criminal, or civil outcomes—such as in a ques􏰀onable use-of-force incident, for example.

There are three of these instances I can recall at this 􏰀me: Officer Rico Hunt (a crash vehicle damage incident at East precinct), Officer Poulos (IA2023-00057—a vehicle damage incident at EDU reported ini􏰀ally to Sergeant Coleman), and a vehicle fueling incident in which gas overflowed when an officer le􏰂 his vehicle una􏰁ended (Lt. Hertenstein should remember this one as he brought it to OPA’s a􏰁en􏰀on when he was assigned at Fleet).

The gas overflow involved Fleet inquiring of the involved officer why there was such a drama􏰀c fuel overage, and he was instructed to complete a supplement explaining why. He claimed there had been nothing unusual regarding the ac􏰀vity of his fuel card, but subsequent video footage was pulled which showed that he had le􏰂 the vehicle una􏰁ended while fueling it. A􏰂er returning to the vehicle from being inside the store, he discovered it had overflowed mul􏰀ple gallons of fuel onto the ground. He no􏰀ceably looked at the situa􏰀on, turned off the nozzle and re-racked it, and then drove off.

He knew what had happened, but neither reported it that day nor disclosed it in response to a formal departmental inquiry. Commander Starling and presumably the officer’s chain of command determined that the ma􏰁er would be handled differently, without a􏰁ending to the false statement

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concern. I had ini􏰀ally believed OPA would be inves􏰀ga􏰀ng it, and I recall sending an email to Lt. Hertenstein with this in mind. I had to send a follow-up email to walk this back.

The other two officers had vehicle crash / damage incidents in which it was discovered that they had mislead supervisors about the cause of vehicle damage when repor􏰀ng it. Officer Poulos ini􏰀ated his report as if he had just discovered the damage, and when Sgt. Coleman dug deeper by looking at the possibility of pulling video footage, the officer suddenly completely changed his story and came clean with what actually happened. I believe both of these officers had their cases resolved as Conduct Unbecoming an Employee of the Department rather than Honesty & Truthfulness or False/Inaccurate Statements.

It was disappoin􏰀ng that officers would mislead about such a minor event as minor damage to a government vehicle, but the fact they were willing to mislead the department about such a trivial ma􏰁er begs ques􏰀on about the department being able to trust them if the original conduct involved a significant ma􏰁er. Chief Greene was involved in direc􏰀ng OPA away from Honesty & Truthfulness for Officer Poulos (IA2023-00057) so that it would be handled similar to Hunt’s case, which he may have been responsible for as well. He took the perspec􏰀ve that Sgt. Coleman had somehow contributed to the officer giving the false statement, which was factually untrue and without a basis to even claim.

I do believe in both instances the officers received a significant amount of suspension days as their sanc􏰀on. Nevertheless, the finding of facts under another policy in order to obscure what the actual conduct was materially affects their disciplinary record, and it would obscure the plain discovery of what the officers actual conduct had been should someone unfamiliar with the case see the viola􏰀on on their history. Doing this enabled the department to retain the employees.

While I don’t like the thought of officers losing their career over this kind of ma􏰁er, that was a choice the officers made. Leadership’s decision regarding how these cases were handled was wrong. Leadership has created their own integrity issue.

On the other side of this issue, Commander Newbern’s inves􏰀ga􏰀on (IA2023-00067) involved an allega􏰀on of being dishonest with his chain of command regarding circumstances pertaining to his job, and this was appropriately inves􏰀gated. However, members of command staff were displeased with other alleged conduct and percep􏰀ons about how he was crea􏰀ng general issues as an employee. This creates a problema􏰀c percep􏰀on that employees can be treated differently by the same process depending on whether those making the decisions have favorable opinions of the employee or the mo􏰀va􏰀on to protect them from the process.

While I believe the Newbern inves􏰀ga􏰀on was jus􏰀fied in inves􏰀ga􏰀ng his truthfulness and that the inves􏰀gator was personally being driven by the facts he was gathering, the departmental handling of integrity makes this ma􏰁er complicated. The command staff’s decision to alter the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve outcome of certain officers’ integrity viola􏰀ons begs the ques􏰀on of why they would not do so for others like Newbern. Vulnerabili􏰀es exist within the departmental reasoning for inves􏰀ga􏰀ng or not inves􏰀ga􏰀ng certain ma􏰁ers in accordance with the actual language of policy. These vulnerabili􏰀es can undermine inves􏰀ga􏰀ons in which inves􏰀gators actually have a factual basis for pursuing integrity viola􏰀ons like Honesty & Truthfulness (as appears to be the case with Newbern’s situa􏰀on).

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Broadly speaking, it is true that not all departments across the country discipline ma􏰁ers of honesty and truthfulness with dismissal. It is true that the MNPD could decide this is how they want to handle these ma􏰁ers, but they should at least be honest and accurate when repor􏰀ng and documen􏰀ng it and call the conduct what it is. If the leadership is unwilling or unable to iden􏰀fy and handle such ma􏰁ers for what they are, then they should simply stop holding officers accountable to a level of integrity they themselves are unwilling to demonstrate. Cura􏰀ng the recorded facts in order to fit another departmental policy is at best, not transparent, and at its worst dishonest and untruthful—it’s false repor􏰀ng.

It is my assessment that this is not a process driven by the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve efforts of the detec􏰀ves or front-line supervisor who handle the case documenta􏰀on; rather, it is a process which comes from the top down and drives how the case proceeds. It is o􏰂en an effort to save an officer’s career, and it goes against the public’s interest. The department retains individuals who have demonstrated issues of judgment and integrity, and this will likely come back to haunt the department when the officer harms a ci􏰀zen or the department’s image again.

I am unsure whether Chief Drake is aware of this changing approach to such integrity viola􏰀ons. I understand the department has been struggling with manpower, and he has made a general push for the idea of “Do no harm” since he became Chief. Part of this seemed to be an effort to make certain disciplinary outcomes “be􏰁er” or less harmful to officers. Nevertheless, the department is trending to crea􏰀ng an environment in which those who demonstrate failures of integrity will remain in contact with the public—on the street and in the courtroom, and greater harm is on the horizon.

The importance of integrity cannot be overstated. Candidates must be selected who demonstrate it in the highest degree before they are admi􏰁ed to the training academy. Trainees who demonstrate a lack of it must be let go rather than given addi􏰀onal opportuni􏰀es. I have heard several instances of trainees viola􏰀ng integrity, and I have witnessed it first-hand myself when I was in the training academy. The department’s need for personnel cannot overshadow the need for the most basic and important qualifica􏰀on: integrity.

I think the public can forgive officers when they make a mistake or are having a bad day. They know officers are not perfect, and so many things can be learned from in such a way that the officer genuinely improves so the next ci􏰀zen is not likely to experience that kind of harm. I do not think the public is so forgiving with officers who cannot be trusted. I believe they will not forgive leadership which retains such employees.

Thankfully, the vast majority of MNPD personnel are people of integrity. Those who make mistakes or experience lapses in performance can generally be counted on to be honest about the ma􏰁er. Dishonest conduct by employees is sta􏰀s􏰀cally rare. The department does not need to protect these employees, and if the department labels their conduct as something other than dishonest, the department will not be serving the public in a transparent manner.

Documen􏰀ng these ma􏰁ers as something other than what they truly are results in data points which would not be pulled by the public in an open records request or inquiry. These real incidents will be obscured, and unless someone remembers the actual circumstances of each case, it will not be apparent to the public or even other employees that the documented policy viola􏰀on is actually a viola􏰀on of honesty and truthfulness or other integrity related offense

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Recommenda􏰀on:

o The MNPD should address ma􏰁ers of integrity under their most relevant policy provision, especially such conduct that is best addressed under Honesty and Truthfulness, False or Inaccurate Reports, and Failure to Cooperate/Withholding Informa􏰀on.

o The MNPD should commit to officer trustworthiness as being a top priority and sanc􏰀on it as such or change policy so that these viola􏰀ons do not have to be punished with dismissal, so they can at least be transparent in their handling of such offenses without having to curate facts, findings, and sanc􏰀ons to retain the officers.

Pertaining to item (2)(h):

Current departmental disciplinary prac􏰀ce lacks propor􏰀onality, reasonableness, fairness, and consistency in sanc􏰀oning misconduct.

The department has a Disciplinary Grid Chart and other accompanying policy provisions which are supposed to help ensure uniformity and consistency with the sanc􏰀oning of misconduct. However, overall disciplinary policy is wri􏰁en in such a manner that there are numerous loopholes which allow increasing or decreasing the punishment of officers, and I believe this has been u􏰀lized too o􏰂en in a cherry-picking manner.

First of all, policy allows for the mi􏰀ga􏰀on or the aggrava􏰀ng of sanc􏰀ons. This allows supervisors, both at their discre􏰀on and their ability/mo􏰀va􏰀on to ar􏰀culate available facts, to increase or decrease the sanc􏰀ons an employee receives if they are sustained on a viola􏰀on of policy. Policy does not make it a requirement for supervisors to apply aggrava􏰀ng or mi􏰀ga􏰀ng factors. This enables a supervisor to cherry-pick when they go a􏰂er or protect an officer. Policy should require that aggrava􏰀ng and mi􏰀ga􏰀ng factors shall always be applied or alterna􏰀vely, specified that neither exist to apply.

Secondly, policy allows for sanc􏰀on se􏰃ng among separate chains of command, to include among each precinct and bureau. Some prefer this as it allows chains of command to set sanc􏰀ons based upon the personal knowledge of the accused officer. Officers who have a good work reputa􏰀on with their chain of command benefit from this. Officers who do not are harmed by this. Subjec􏰀vity is introduced into this because there is s􏰀ll a desire among front line supervisors and chains of command to prevent extreme punishment of officers by command staff at headquarters.

One unfortunate problem this creates for the department is that similar misconduct commi􏰁ed by different officers in different chains of command can be sanc􏰀oned very differently. It is too easy for the discrepancy to slip through the cracks and go unno􏰀ced, even by that bureau’s chief. This creates the

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possibility for similar conduct to not only be sanc􏰀oned differently but inves􏰀gated differently. Some supervisors put addi􏰀onal effort into their inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, as well as addi􏰀onal skill and effort into their ar􏰀cula􏰀on of facts (to help or hurt subordinates).

Not all inves􏰀ga􏰀ons are conducted equally. The average OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀on is more thorough than a precinct supervisors’, and two supervisors in the same precinct can have notably different quality in their inves􏰀ga􏰀ons of their assigned officers. Moreover, just because two inves􏰀ga􏰀ons have the same policy finding does not necessarily mean the same conduct was involved. Again, this helps some officers and hurts others. A department wide concern is the lack of a uniform, consistent, objec􏰀ve, and fair complaint and disciplinary process.

Thirdly, policy has mul􏰀ple provisions which overlap or are close enough in how they are wri􏰁en, that a supervisor need only ar􏰀culate one over the other, as well as minimize the documenta􏰀on of certain facts within the inves􏰀ga􏰀on, to use the desired provision either to increase or decrease the sanc􏰀on.

For example, an employee who engages in a very rude, inci􏰀ng, or escalatory manner with a ci􏰀zen on duty could be inves􏰀gated or sanc􏰀oned under Courtesy or Self-Control. However, a supervisor could make a push to address the conduct under Responsibility or Conduct Becoming an Employee of the Department. Courtesy is an F category offense; Responsibility and Self-Control a D category, and Conduct Unbecoming is open range (varies by severity of viola􏰀on up to dismissal). Depending on the ar􏰀cula􏰀on of facts and who the supervisors are approving the final inves􏰀ga􏰀ve write-up, any of these could be a possibility. This can be used to help or hurt an employee.

What can further complicate this is that whatever is determined by a lower chain of command could be overturned during the course of se􏰁ling the ma􏰁er before it goes to a departmental hearing, and these se􏰁lements can occur irrespec􏰀ve of the strength of the case facts. Hearings require a lot of effort and coordina􏰀on.

While it is difficult to imagine any internal affairs process which does not require some degree of supervisory discre􏰀on or the possibility of se􏰁ling things under other policies, MNPD’s policy and its prac􏰀ce of using it warrant addi􏰀onal safeguards to ensure consistency and uniformity in its applica􏰀on. This is needed to ensure improved fairness.

Too o􏰂en individual deputy chiefs or assistant chiefs have resolved cases with such a disparity in the severity of sanc􏰀ons, that the only reasonable conclusion is that command staff does not communicate amongst each other, properly evaluate sanc􏰀ons prior to issuing them or resolving cases, or consider sufficient reference cases or past precedent.

Other cases and their sanc􏰀ons have been referenced herein. One for contrast in severity, is one involving a detec􏰀ve (IA2021-00057) who believed a man had sexually assaulted his wife and was a sexual predator. A􏰂er discovering what had happened, he called and threatened the man (who had been a friend and pastor), but he never took any physical ac􏰀on against him in person. He made efforts to communicate with him, as well as warn the man’s soon to be new wife about what he perceived to be his sexual predatory behavior.

The detec􏰀ve sent an inappropriate message along with a wedding registry gi􏰂 (a spatula) which read, “Here’s a spatula, in hopes that you’ll use it when you must scrape up the remains of your ruined

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marriage. Don’t ever forget me. . .” A􏰂er this, the man told the detec􏰀ve to stop communica􏰀ng with him, and he stopped.

While the detec􏰀ve’s ac􏰀ons were inappropriate, the totality of the circumstances made it clear how the other man’s conduct affected the detec􏰀ve and his family. Despite this, the detec􏰀ve did not do something much worse, such as seek the man out and physically harm him. The detec􏰀ve was sustained on 4.20.040 Personal Behavior, D. Conduct Unbecoming an Employee of the Department, which was appropriate. The downside to this policy is that it can be sanc􏰀oned all the way up to dismissal.

The detec􏰀ve was sanc􏰀oned with thirty (30) suspension days and a last chance agreement. The detec􏰀ve ended up resigning from the department a􏰂er this case. This sanc􏰀on seems absurdly excessive when compared to Thorowgood and Gooch’s (who actually engaged in physical conduct commonly viewed as assaul􏰀ve in nature), as well as higher-ranking employees who received less in their cases, despite their rank and harming employees (Schmitz, Hunsicker, Hooper, and Taylor).

Addi􏰀onally, Gooch received rehabilita􏰀on to help jus􏰀fy reducing his sanc􏰀on, and despite the department having quality wellness and counseling services which could have helped the detec􏰀ve navigate the trauma and stressors of what he and his family experienced to move forward, the department dropped a hammer on him and ended his career. There was no effort to help him in his unique circumstances.

Some􏰀mes an officer violates mul􏰀ple provisions of policy, which adds up to a substan􏰀al amount of sanc􏰀oned suspension days. However, the aforemen􏰀oned cases, with the excep􏰀on of Schmitz, are either only one or two sanc􏰀oned viola􏰀ons. The above detec􏰀ve’s case was a single viola􏰀on resul􏰀ng in 30 days of suspension and a last chance agreement.

It is my assessment that this is an unfair and dispropor􏰀onate amount of suspension 􏰀me for his actual conduct. It was possible because the most fi􏰃ng policy for his conduct was an open range viola􏰀on, and command staff chose to sanc􏰀on it as an A Category offense.

One solu􏰀on to some of these problems might be a single unit for reviewing inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and sanc􏰀ons for consistency, fairness, and policy compliance across the department. However, this unit would need to be comprised of a group of individuals or structured in such a way as to reduce the chance for biases, prejudices, and irrelevant informa􏰀on from influencing outcomes. Careful a􏰁en􏰀on would need to be given to past precedent, as well as the crea􏰀on of new precedents. This would also likely require amending the disciplinary 􏰀meline.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Establish a commi􏰁ee, unit, process, or person(s) who are responsible for ensuring that sanc􏰀ons are uniform, consistent, fair, in keeping with past precedent or the crea􏰀on of a needed new precedent, and in compliance with policy and procedures. They would need the authority to overturn, modify, or issue new sanc􏰀ons, as well as return cases for addi􏰀onal inves􏰀ga􏰀on.

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o Aggrava􏰀ng and mi􏰀ga􏰀ng factors should always be applied, if they exist at all. This should always be documented and specified for every sustained viola􏰀on, including their non-existence. Otherwise, aggrava􏰀ng and mi􏰀ga􏰀ng factors should be completely removed from policy to prevent their inconsistent applica􏰀on from contribu􏰀ng to the lack of fairness in the process.

o The disciplinary grid chart should be updated. The range of each box’s sanc􏰀on should be reduced, and the reason for the sanc􏰀on choice—even among the op􏰀ons within the grid box— should be recorded in wri􏰀ng. Many of the boxes have a three to six (3-6) suspension day range for the same category and offense occurrence. There is no clear policy explana􏰀on as to what warrants giving an officer four (4) suspension days for a 1st Offense of a Category D viola􏰀on, as opposed to only a one (1) suspension day, and they are both op􏰀ons. This could help with consistency and fairness.

o Addi􏰀onal safeguards should be enacted to ensure that pre-inves􏰀ga􏰀on se􏰁lements are not used to sani􏰀ze wri􏰁en records, cover up serious misconduct, reduce sanc􏰀ons inappropriately, and resolve ma􏰁ers so expediently that accountability at the MNPD is jeopardized.

Pertaining to item (2)(i):

Command staff has had frequent communica􏰀on issues and disagreements on policy sanc􏰀ons, resul􏰀ng in several instances of officers agreeing with and signing for sanc􏰀ons, only to have those sanc􏰀ons overturned and increased later.

The opera􏰀ons of those in the command staff (the chiefs) has demonstrated an inability to effec􏰀vely communicate with each other. This is highlighted in several instances of departmental sanc􏰀ons being issued as a result of an OPA inves􏰀ga􏰀on, only to have those pulled and then other sanc􏰀ons issued.

For example, Officer Carlisle was issued what many felt were low sanc􏰀ons for his circumstances (IA2022-00014), but these were issued and he signed for them. Amidst poli􏰀cal pressure and concerns for the implica􏰀ons of Carlisle’s ac􏰀ons and the effect it had on the vic􏰀m and the vic􏰀m’s family, he pulled these back and issued new ones which forced Carlisle to resign.

Lt. Durbin was also issued sanc􏰀ons which he signed for on his case (IA2022-00024), but these were pulled. He was then given increased sanc􏰀ons, and he reluctantly signed for them because he was just ready to be done with the inves􏰀ga􏰀on and the disciplinary process.

I personally had sent the sanc􏰀ons and paperwork to Sgt. Kenny on his case (IA2023-00045), despite many of us within OPA feeling they were not sufficient. Finally a􏰂er addi􏰀onal communica􏰀on was forced up the chain, those sanc􏰀ons were pulled for reconsidera􏰀on. I had only emailed and scheduled the presenta􏰀on with Sgt. Kenney and his a􏰁orney, Kim Gilliland, but I s􏰀ll had to reach back out and cancel this mee􏰀ng. A􏰁orney Gilliland understood the implica􏰀ons that the sanc􏰀ons would be increasing.

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Another case was Sean Herman’s (HR2022-0011). His ini􏰀al sanc􏰀on was eight (8) suspension days for a viola􏰀on of MNPD Manual 4.50.020 Harassment and Discrimina􏰀on Policy. This was overturned by Chief Drake, and one month later it was increased to ten (10) suspension days with a last chance agreement. (See item eight (8) regarding MNPD’s tolerance of such behavior)

Not only is it embarrassing to employees who have to be the face of these mistakes and conduct the disciplinary processes, but it undermines the professionalism of the process itself. It puts personnel who were ready to sign and accept the punishment and responsibility for their conduct in a situa􏰀on in which they had just formally agreed with the department’s findings and sanc􏰀ons, to have to turn right around and sign for increased punishment.

While Chief Drake had not signed off on the disciplinary paperwork yet and it appears to be permi􏰁ed by policy to pull the rug out from underneath officers like this, it is unfair to the accused officers and demonstrates an inefficiency, incompetence, and failure of leadership to supervise these disciplinary processes in the furtherance of the department’s mission.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o The MNPD should enact safeguards to ensure that the sanc􏰀ons sent to an officer on their case have been properly ve􏰁ed previously by those who have a say, in order to prevent officers from signing in agreement, only to have that overturned by a higher-ranking supervisor disagreeing with those sanc􏰀ons.

Pertaining to item (3):

There are failures in annual evalua􏰀ons in which supervisors are discouraged from scoring poor performing officers as failing or are given instruc􏰀ons to change scores, and MNPD’s current prac􏰀ce, policy, and procedures with annual evalua􏰀ons should be reviewed and improved.

Two notable cases include Officer Brian Woodard’s annual evalua􏰀on from then Sgt. Davidson and Officer Frederick Ware by Lt. James Williams. Other employees who may serve as examples of how the annual evalua􏰀on process fails include Monica Blake, Eric Harvey, Robert Fondren, Johnny Cantrell, civilian Lawanna Coleman, and Citlaly Gomez.

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Regarding Officer Woodard’s evalua􏰀on in 2017, he had engaged in a variety of poor performance throughout the year which he was verbally coached or instructed on or had a formal inves􏰀ga􏰀on. This culminated with an annual evalua􏰀on with several “1’s” for his unsuccessful performance. Because of this, he failed his annual evalua􏰀on. When this occurred, Human Resources had just coincidentally changed a few aspects of its process, including certain forms.

Human Resources had difficulty processing this failed evalua􏰀on, and it took much longer than expected. During this, not even Sue Bibb was en􏰀rely sure which supervisor signed a certain line on the annual evalua􏰀on form when the officer was marked as failed. In the end, I believe she instructed that Lt. Burke should sign it (but this could be double-checked).

I cra􏰂ed a Job Performance Improvement Plan designed to help Officer Woodard work through his behaviors and conduct which were holding him back from being successful. This followed him to his next work assignment, which was North B-detail under Lieutenant Vivyonne Lee. He con􏰀nued to have issues there, including a supposed ghost pursuit which resulted in damage to his vehicle. In the end, I do not believe the JPIP was fully supervised or implemented by his new chain of command, and I do not think the failed evalua􏰀on score was retained or ins􏰀tuted by HR.

Failures from HR enforcing the failed score, as well as with the JPIP implementa􏰀on, likely contributed to his ability to stay with the MNPD. Eventually, he engaged in another gross act of misconduct in which he was criminally charged and terminated, bringing discredit to the MNPD.

Regarding Officer Frederick Ware, it is my understanding that Lieutenant James Williams had already placed Officer Ware on a JPIP for certain performance issues. Ul􏰀mately, the JPIP was not successful, and Lt. Williams marked Ware’s evalua􏰀on as failing. In the end, the policy implica􏰀ons of this was not seen through, and pressure came down Lt. Williams’ chain of command, resul􏰀ng in him relen􏰀ng and changing the evalua􏰀on score in order to pass Ware rather than push back.

The internal departmental pressures (typically arising from Human Resources and supported by higher ranking sworn supervisors) with officer evalua􏰀ons results in inaccurate evalua􏰀ons. Poor performing officers are o􏰂en “marked down the middle” as “2’s” rather than giving specific, meaningful scores which reflect actual performance during their annual review.

In turn, these evalua􏰀ons can be used by poor performing officers and their a􏰁orneys to argue against departmental sanc􏰀ons or ac􏰀ons because it serves as proof of mee􏰀ng standards, rather than failing performance. This creates a liability for the department. These evalua􏰀ons can be used in future li􏰀ga􏰀on, hearings, or processes to further enable a problem employee to keep their job. Past sa􏰀sfactory performance, especially during the 􏰀me frame of an allega􏰀on, is used to argue against or mi􏰀gate the sanc􏰀ons of other misconduct.

Lower ranking supervisors, typically sergeants, are also hesitant to score poor performing personnel low because it would affect the officer’s pay. The addi􏰀onal complica􏰀ons with having to implement a Job Performance Improvement Plan and how to navigate this process, makes it troublesome for even commi􏰁ed supervisors who want to use all available means to correct poor performance.

Departmental management and use of annual evalua􏰀ons should be improved. The department should consider removing any correla􏰀on between evalua􏰀ons and pay, even if this requires seeking

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changes to civil service rules. If officers are not actually permi􏰁ed to receive a pay increase from meritorious conduct, they should likewise have the threat of a pay decrease removed. This would remove pressures on supervisors from scoring up or down for reasons unrelated to actual performance.

I believe it is sufficient that successful employees are retained and coached on addi􏰀onal steps they can take to further improve their performance. Similarly, it is sufficient that poor performing (failing/unsuccessful) employees are placed on a Job Performance Improvement Plan which must be successfully passed or be terminated. This provides a mechanism for coaching and training failing employees back up, and officers commi􏰁ed to the MNPD and improving their performance will do so.

Moreover, supervisors need addi􏰀onal training and direc􏰀on on how to coach and actually manage their employees “up.” Annual evalua􏰀ons are too o􏰂en seen as an inconvenient, rote task which must be completed for a subordinate employee at the last minute. Instead, it should be seen as the culmina􏰀on of the last year’s supervisory efforts to help that subordinate succeed at the MNPD. Supervisors should not be wai􏰀ng un􏰀l the end of the year to drop a hammer on failing employees as if that is all that ma􏰁ers for managing them; rather, unsuccessful employees should see it coming.

They should be keenly aware of whether they are mee􏰀ng supervisory expecta􏰀ons throughout the year, and if not, directed and coached to bring them up to where they need to be. If they cannot make this, then they should not be surprised to fail their evalua􏰀on.

Annual evalua􏰀ons are one an important mechanism the department has at its disposal in order to iden􏰀fy and remove problem employees who regularly engage in misconduct or poor performance which undermines the MNPD’s mission and public trust.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Update policy and (even Civil Service Rules for police, if needed) to make annual evalua􏰀ons irrelevant for officer pay, as well as to support supervisors’ ability to document failed employee performance to enhance the MNPD’s ability to hold officers performing below acceptable standards accountable.

o Addi􏰀onal training should be provided to all employees regarding performance evalua􏰀ons. Officers need to understand the purpose of evalua􏰀ons, as well as how they can get the most out of their annual performance review. Supervisors need to understand how to successfully manage and coach subordinates all year long, as well as how to properly handle the evalua􏰀on process.

o Meaningful and relevant guidelines and training should be provided for handling an employee whose performance is going to result in a failed annual evalua􏰀on, as well as best prac􏰀ce for documen􏰀ng these facts. When a supervisor provides a sufficient factual basis for failing an employee, HR and others should not pressure supervisors to alter evalua􏰀on scores. Any changes should come only as the result of an appeal process filed by the affected employee.

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Relevant Policy Provisions from MNPD Manual: 3.10 Employee Performance Evalua􏰀ons 3.10.010 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to establish departmental policy and procedure for conduc􏰀ng employee performance evalua􏰀ons and ensuring annual criminal history checks are completed, thus ensuring the highest levels of departmental standards of performance.

3.10.020 Policy

In accordance with the Metro Charter and the Civil Service Rules, each employee’s job performance shall be evaluated on at least an annual basis. Addi􏰀onal evalua􏰀ons may be done when necessary or required by current job descrip􏰀on. The requirements of the posi􏰀on cons􏰀tute the standards of performance or the basis upon which supervisors will rate the efficiency of employees. The standard of performance shall be the minimum level of performance expected a􏰂er a reasonable period of training for a fully qualified, competent and acceptable employee. The goal of the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department (MNPD) is to establish a performance evalua􏰀on system enabling employees to exceed those standards.

3.10.040 General Provisions

A. Performance evalua􏰀ons are used to give employees feedback on their job performance, to help them improve future performance and to document performance for the following purposes:

1. To complete proba􏰀on or work test. Employee Performance

2. To determine whether or not an employee’s performance meets the standard required to proceed to the next pay increment.

3. To determine eligibility for promo􏰀ons and advancement.

4. As an aid in determining layoff ac􏰀ons.

5. To determine reemployment eligibility; and

6. To facilitate other Human Resource (HR) decisions which may be appropriately determined by employee performance.

3.10.050 Procedures

C. Prior to any performance evalua􏰀on period the supervisor shall meet with the employee for a planning session to mutually agree on job responsibili􏰀es, goals, and the measurement criteria. The Performance Feedback Form shall be used to document this mee􏰀ng and is available from the Metro Human Resources Division online.

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D. Supervisors shall con􏰀nually observe the performance of employees under their direct responsibility in order to facilitate an annual evalua􏰀on that is beneficial to both the employee and the department.

E. Annual Performance Evalua􏰀on1. All employees’ job performance shall be evaluated on at least an annual basis. 2. Employees shall be rated on the following scale:

a. 1 – Needs Improvement: Performance does not meet minimum acceptable standards, expecta􏰀ons, and requirements of the job, or is below what can be expected of average performance. Employee requires a high level of supervision or assistance to accomplish work results. Improvement is necessary to meet desired level of performance results.

b. 2 – Successful: Performance meets acceptable standards, expecta􏰀ons, and requirements. Performance contributes what is expected of a qualified, experienced employee performing in this posi􏰀on.

c. 3 – Excep􏰀onal: Consistently meets standards and expecta􏰀ons, regularly exceeds them, and shows ini􏰀a􏰀ve in addi􏰀onal assignments. Successfully completes all responsibili􏰀es, even for projects that require versa􏰀le skills. Employee strives to grow professionally through development ac􏰀vi􏰀es.

3. Any ra􏰀ng found to be “Needs Improvement” or “Excep􏰀onal” must include a wri􏰁en explana􏰀on of the deficiency and sugges􏰀ons for improvement, or explana􏰀on of exemplary performance, whichever is applicable.

4. The reviewer shall evaluate the form for correctness and compliance with procedures, sign it, and return it to the rater.

H. Employee Job Performance Improvement Plan (JPIP)

1. A Job Performance Improvement Plan (JPIP), MNPD Form 309, shall be u􏰀lized if an employee’s performance is rated less than acceptable on any performance evalua􏰀on and addi􏰀onally may be used any 􏰀me it is determined an employee’s performance is below an acceptable standard (Refer to Department Manual Chapter 3.20 governing Employee Job Performance Improvement Plan).

2. Supervisors shall ensure wri􏰁en no􏰀fica􏰀on of unsa􏰀sfactory performance is provided to the employee at least ninety (90) days prior to the end of their annual ra􏰀ng period, when applicable.

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Pertaining to item (4):

The Metro Nashville Police Department was involved in the process of cra􏰂ing and advising legisla􏰀on (SB 0591/HB 0764) to reduce the Metro Nashville Community Oversight and Community Oversight Board’s ability to operate and hold the MNPD accountable, and this is further proof of a greater trending problem with MNPD leadership’s disciplinary prac􏰀ces and aversion to external oversight of any kind.

Deputy Chief Gilder and Assistant Chief Hagar were principally involved in this, but their efforts were known among leadership, including Chief Drake. A􏰂er legisla􏰀on was successfully passed, Director Morante requested that DC Gilder come to the OPA Division under the guise of teaching the OPA Division about the implica􏰀ons of the law change and its effect upon the COB, but it was actually in order to present him with an award for his work on the law. He was presented with a small, laser engraved crystal-style award in front of nearly the en􏰀re OPA Division.

The department’s effort and DC Gilder’s work to change COB law undoes efforts made to create transparency and build trust with Nashvillians. It upends progress in crea􏰀ng a culture of accountability with the public, eliminates a specific mechanism of this, and further enables the department to insulate its own culture of how accountability is performed or not performed. The ac􏰀ons taken to undermine, constrain, and eliminate the ability of the Nashville COB to engage in meaningful oversight represents an unethical conflict of interest and raises grave concerns about accountability and transparency with the MNPD.

Chief Hagar and Chief Gilder have both historically had a significant role in handling how the MNPD responds to COB/MNCO inquiries and ma􏰁ers, the department’s corresponding strategizing, and compliance efforts. It is unethical—duplicitous at best—for the leadership of an execu􏰀ve agency to hand-in-hand assist in the crea􏰀on of legisla􏰀on intended to curb oversight of its opera􏰀ons.

Were this done publicly, with a campaign of transparency as to their basis for doing so, that might be palatable, but organiza􏰀ons like the FOP exist to lobby outside of the department itself. Open lobbying by an execu􏰀ve agency to change laws effec􏰀ng its opera􏰀ons are one thing, but secretly being party to the legisla􏰀ve process in order to reduce accountability to its stakeholders is a betrayal of public trust and serves departmental interest rather than the public’s.

This new legisla􏰀on decreases the ability of the COB to hold the MNPD accountable and decreases the a􏰁endant workload on the individuals who helped with the legisla􏰀on; therefore, this is a gross conflict of interest which goes exactly against transparency and modern policing principles.

The efforts to guide and assist with this legisla􏰀on marked a concerted effort by the department to subvert local law in order to have something more favorable, and rather than doing this openly, transparently, as part of a broader conversa􏰀on and effort in the eyes of the public, this was done clandes􏰀nely, behind closed doors, with contact with lawmakers believed to have been kept off official records. While there were concerns regarding the law Nashvillians put in place, at the end of the day, local ci􏰀zens and their government put it in place to address specific concerns. The department has spit in their face by finding a solu􏰀on which rather effec􏰀vely overturns the will of Nashvillians.

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The context and circumstances in which this has occurred also does not bode well. Considering my other concerns laid out regarding top leadership’s handling of disciplinary ma􏰁ers and the assignment of a commander to OPA, it is apparent that top leadership is maneuvering for unimpeded control and influence over OPA and the disciplinary process. The context requires addi􏰀onal explana􏰀on in order to help understand why this is so problema􏰀c.

During Chief Anderson’s tenure, the decision was made to bring Director Morante over to the department to lead OPA. This was done as a compromise and effort to ward off Nashville ge􏰃ng a community oversight board back then. By appoin􏰀ng a civilian prosecutor, the department could show a good-faith effort to be introducing an outside, non-police mindset to handling officer misconduct, which occasionally includes criminal allega􏰀ons. This was a compromise to avoid greater external accountability.

The crea􏰀on and implementa􏰀on of the COB by Nashvillian voters caused having a civilian director to become an irrelevant benefit for the department. Director Morante and Assistant Chief Hagar have not been on good terms for some 􏰀me, especially given how ma􏰁ers were handled with Lt. Hammond’s case (IA2018-00008).

Around six (6) months a􏰂er I became the OPA lieutenant, Commander Starling was moved over to OPA to introduce a captain-level rank between myself and Director Morante. In some ways, this was long overdue because the number of responsibili􏰀es and tasks the lieutenant had was expansive and included things typically handled by a captain-rank officer.

However, I believe the primary reasons for this change was the reality that one-day, probably sooner than later, Director Morante would re􏰀re, and the plan is to not re-staff her posi􏰀on. The department is going to move away from having a civilian director. It is no longer necessary as a deterrent to having a COB. There are pros and cons to having a civilian director as the highest-ranking supervisor of OPA, and I believe some of the other command staff have bumped heads with her (for example, Chief Richter and Hagar).

Addi􏰀onally, when I was the highest-ranking sworn supervisor of OPA, I was reluctant to entertain outside influence in OPA’s inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, and I limited the flow of informa􏰀on to command staff to primarily case 􏰀melines, rather than facts and details about the inves􏰀ga􏰀on. I did not want these leaking through the department and possibly to witnesses or the accused. I was also willing to speak up about consistency with sanc􏰀ons, even with deputy chiefs. Commander Starling is much more accommoda􏰀ng to sharing case facts and details than I was.

Here is how this all comes full circle. Department leadership has helped overturn legisla􏰀on designed to provide oversight, interferes with inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and their outcomes for unjus􏰀fied, non- factual and non-policy reasons, has ques􏰀onable open record prac􏰀ces, has appointed a favorable ranking officer to facilitate their reach into OPA opera􏰀ons, and intends to further reduce the influence and benefit of a civilian through the elimina􏰀on of the civilian OPA director posi􏰀on once she leaves. Both external and internal mechanisms of addressing police employee misconduct have been reduced or eliminated, and they are on a trajectory to con􏰀nue to do so.

OPA once prided itself on being an independent, fact-driven division which answered directly to the Police Chief without those in the middle interfering. This doesn’t mean that OPA was ever perfect or

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always got things right. Accountability of those engaging in misconduct is eroding at the MNPD, and this is being driven not by those inves􏰀ga􏰀ng the misconduct but by a leadership willing to pull the strings to get the results they want, rather than the results the facts and public demand.

An analysis of the law as it stands now, as well as the arguments and responses the MNPD has put forth to CRB requests since going into effect, are informa􏰀ve as to the effort and inten􏰀onality put into the new legisla􏰀on. Effort was given to ensure the law was comprehensive and beneficial enough for the MNPD to leverage it rou􏰀nely going forward to avoid external accountability. Henceforth, every 􏰀me the MNPD cites the new law as jus􏰀fica􏰀on for anything, it should be an affront to the public.

Because of the above, the MNPD’s ac􏰀ons should be reviewed to see if they cons􏰀tuted a viola􏰀on of “home rule” and actually resulted in the passage of a law designed to target Nashville’s COB.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o Because this alleged conduct reflects poorly upon the MNPD, is detrimental to the respect and confidence of the Nashville community, and brings discredit upon the MNPD and its specifically accused members, this should be inves􏰀gated as an allega􏰀on of a viola􏰀on of 4.20.040 Personal Behavior, D. Conduct Unbecoming an Employee of the Department against Chief Gilder and Chief Hagar.

o The inves􏰀ga􏰀on should use all means to establish both on and off-duty communica􏰀ons and efforts that went into advancing the new legisla􏰀on, as well as what conduct occurred during and outside of normal working hours. The inves􏰀ga􏰀on should proceed where it is warranted, even if this includes Chief Drake and others becoming an accused employee.

o Addi􏰀onally, if sustained, those in leadership who knew about this conduct but failed to take ac􏰀on to either stop it or report it, should be found in viola􏰀on of 4.10. Discipline and Correc􏰀ve Ac􏰀on, C.

Pertaining to item (5):

There has been a detrimental reduc􏰀on in training hours for recruits in the training academy and in the field training program which jeopardizes the training new officers receives, as well as overall departmental opera􏰀ons and employee performance, and the changed training landscape warrants a new inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding and sanc􏰀on.

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The MNPD’s training academy was approximately 23 weeks long for many years. This provided sufficient opportunity to for police trainees to acclimate to the demands of becoming a police officer and develop the necessary knowledge, skills, and abili􏰀es (KSA’s). Currently, the training academy dura􏰀on has been reduced to approximately 19 weeks, marking an approximate month decrease in overall training. Moreover, the actual field training program has reduced the amount of 􏰀me new recruits ride with a Field Training Officer to learn how to implement their KSA’s in the real world. Lateral officers have a very brief field training rota􏰀on of approximately four (4) weeks.

The training academy and field training program are career-cri􏰀cal 􏰀mes for new MNPD police employees. During these training phases, new police employees learn not only develop their policing KSA’s, but they begin orien􏰀ng to the challenges and demands of what policing is. Their character is evaluated and tested; their physical and mental preparedness are established; and their actual capacity to serve as an MNPD officer is determined.

The MNPD is in a constant fight with employee a􏰁ri􏰀on and hiring challenges, resul􏰀ng in a constant need for new employees. While this is true reality which requires a􏰁en􏰀on, reducing the amount of training new employees receive in the most forma􏰀ve 􏰀me of their career is detrimental to their individual long-term success, as well as detrimental to the public interest of having the most qualified and ready officers serving them. It promises more officers on the front-end and more a􏰁ri􏰀on/turn-over on the back-end.

The department has pushed back on claims about the poten􏰀al issues the reduced training 􏰀melines creates by arguing that “training standards” have not been lowered. It is true that the department is s􏰀ll mee􏰀ng Tennessee POST standards and all the minimum benchmarks, but overall training hours has been reduced. Even if items have been removed from the training curriculum which were deemed non-cri􏰀cal, these training 􏰀me slots could be replaced with addi􏰀onal training in core skills, such as: de-escala􏰀on, use of force, vehicle opera􏰀on, body-worn camera prac􏰀ces and procedures, role-playing scenarios, firearms instruc􏰀on, traffic stops, and rou􏰀ne but complex incident types, such as domes􏰀c violence or DUI inves􏰀ga􏰀on which have been over-represented in misconduct inves􏰀ga􏰀ons and lawsuits.

Addi􏰀onally, the training academy and field training program provide cri􏰀cal opportuni􏰀es to evaluate the character of new employees. Training instructors are skilled at iden􏰀fying the red-flags that indicate a trainee is a future problem employee. Training instructors and field training officers have a unique opportunity and window of 􏰀me to observe whether new employees possess the integrity, judgment, emo􏰀onal intelligence, self-discipline, and overall professionalism expected of all employees. Cu􏰃ng these training phases short only increases the likelihood of trainees with disqualifying character to become a street officer.

As it stands now, there are already vulnerabili􏰀es in the training phases which should be shored up to remove trainees demonstra􏰀ng disqualifying character. Firstly, training instructors should be given an increased ability to document and report specific concerns up their chain of command in wri􏰀ng, without fear of reprisal, and supervisors should be required to document their response in wri􏰀ng.

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Secondly, it is anecdotally widely expressed in the department that many of the field training officers are only doing the role for the increased pay it brings, and they are not properly instruc􏰀ng new officers. While there are certainly many FTO’s who do the role well and enjoy the added responsibility of training up new officers, the department should do more to ensure that FTO’s who are not fulfilling their roles be removed from their role quickly. The FTO program is too cri􏰀cal a 􏰀me period in a new officer’s career to jeopardize. New employees can learn very bad behaviors and develop training scars which will reveal themselves later in that employee’s career, o􏰂en with devasta􏰀ng effect.

Supervisors and OPA inves􏰀gators have all witnessed the unfortunate phenomena of trainees passing their training phases despite the number of training instructors, field training officers, class mates, and others who knew the employee would be a problem for the department. Some􏰀mes this informa􏰀on comes out during an inves􏰀ga􏰀on into misconduct; other 􏰀mes it is simply a widespread knowledge in which many people share their own anecdotes about the stupid, dangerous, or unethical conduct they or others have witnessed the employee commit.

As a part of my Northwestern School of Police Staff and Command staff study, I interviewed mul􏰀ple current and prior training academy instructors and field training officers. I learned from them that there are widespread concerns about the current effec􏰀veness of the training academy instruc􏰀on and field training programs, as well as command staff decisions rela􏰀ng to these areas.

Addi􏰀onally, 2020 marked a substan􏰀al change in policing for a two-year period, resul􏰀ng in a “covid genera􏰀on” of officers who received their training during a highly unusual 􏰀me period. Things they did or experienced during those years may be locked into their minds and habits as “normal.” This has le􏰂 training scars on many of these officers, and some of these officers have now become field training officers and sergeants. Some of these officers’ careers will bear the unfortunate fruit of becoming a police officer during this period, and this is not their fault.

The changing dynamics of training at the MNPD across the years and responsible divisions has a direct impact on officers’ ability to learn, retain, and apply policy, procedures, and training. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that officers will commit viola􏰀ons of procedures and training, especially on tasks requiring more complex KSA’s. This has been exacerbated by forces both within and outside of the MNPD’s control. The responsibili􏰀es and complexi􏰀es of policing at the MNPD have only con􏰀nued to grow and show no signs of slowing.

In order to account for this and provide a means of retaining employees of character who simply need addi􏰀onal training, disciplinary policy should be revised to include the possibility for “training required” as an inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding (or something similar). Remedial training should be added to the disciplinary grid chart as a possible sanc􏰀on in-of-itself.

Policy should be updated to reflect that when an employee engages in a minor, non-inten􏰀onal viola􏰀on of a specific policy, procedure, or training which appears to be the result of the employee being unfamiliar with the task or incident at hand and that addi􏰀onal training would address this conduct, then remedial training shall be recommended and completed WITHOUT addi􏰀onal correc􏰀ve or disciplinary ac􏰀on for that viola􏰀on. As it stands now, such a viola􏰀on would generally be punished as a Category D viola􏰀on (1-4 days of suspension) if it was a one-􏰀me viola􏰀on or as a 4.20.050 Official Obliga􏰀ons, F. Deficient / Inefficient Performance of Duty offense, which would require a full JPIP, in addi􏰀on to any other sanc􏰀on.

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I would argue a minor policy viola􏰀on can generally be designated as “Category D” or lower, but I do not believe MNPD policy actually designates this. A “training required” finding and sanc􏰀on should be limited to a single, first-􏰀me sustained viola􏰀on for a specific provision of policy or procedure involving a performed task or responsibility. It should never be considered for a ma􏰁er involving a ques􏰀on of integrity.

An example of this might be if an officer fails to administer the Standard Field Sobriety Tasks correctly and/or other aspects of a DUI inves􏰀ga􏰀on but makes a good-faith effort to complete the process. If the facts show the officer did not inten􏰀onally mishandle this incident and this was a first- 􏰀me viola􏰀on discovered during a complaint inves􏰀ga􏰀on, then this would be an ideal 􏰀me to consider the “training required” finding.

This inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding and sanc􏰀on recognizes that KSA’s generally deteriorate over-􏰀me and when not used regularly; that some tasks and incident types are very complex but not regularly encountered by individual officers; that officers are tasked with an ever-increasing amount of responsibili􏰀es; that officers should not be overly punished when making good-faith efforts to do what is required; that organiza􏰀ons can create excellence and promote success by removing some of the fear of failure; to further encourage officers to take responsibility for even their uninten􏰀onal mistakes, learn from it, and grow; to provide a tool to supervisors to help their officers grow, without feeling like they have to drop a hammer on their officers; and that some ci􏰀zens hesitate to file or follow through with complaints due to not wan􏰀ng to overly-punish officers but would s􏰀ll like them to receive addi􏰀onal training to prevent the conduct from occurring again.

Subsequent viola􏰀ons of the same policy which had previously been sanc􏰀on with “training required” would be processed in accordance with exis􏰀ng policy and procedures, to include being treated as a 2nd offense if it occurred within the listed reten􏰀on period.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o The MNPD should return to historic training academy and field training program lengths and implement addi􏰀onal training in core KSA’s, as well as any areas determined where officers are rou􏰀nely engaging in viola􏰀ons of policy, procedure, or training, to include trends iden􏰀fied by OPA.

o The department should evaluate its training program, dura􏰀on, phases, and personnel in order to determine whether improvements should be made which iden􏰀fy and remove new employees deemed too likely to engage in future misconduct. Poor performance and character during training phases is indica􏰀ve of poor performance and character when no longer under the constant scru􏰀ny of trainers. It is much easier to remove the trainee when they are s􏰀ll on proba􏰀on rather than once they are off proba􏰀on and engage in misconduct.

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o Training instructors should be given an increased ability to document and report specific concerns up their chain of command in wri􏰀ng, without fear of reprisal, and supervisors should be required to document their response in wri􏰀ng.

o Deficiencies in the field training program and its FTO’s should be addressed to ensure that only qualified, mo􏰀vated officers are conduc􏰀ng training.

o Implement new “training required” inves􏰀ga􏰀ve finding/sanc􏰀on and update policy, in the spirit of what is described above.

Pertaining to item (6):

There is a prac􏰀ce of iden􏰀fying viola􏰀ons of policy and procedure through monthly body-worn camera audits, without supervisors properly addressing these in accordance with departmental policy, allowing repeat offenders to amass mul􏰀ple BWC audits without facing consequences.

The Body Worn Camera/In-Car Camera Unit (BIU) completes monthly audits of officers’ BWC footage in order to iden􏰀fy viola􏰀ons of policy (8.30.240 Audi􏰀ng and Review Processes, B., 1. BWC/ICC Division Audit). If a review iden􏰀fies possible viola􏰀ons, these are documented, and the audit form is routed to that officer’s chain of command to cause addi􏰀onal review of that officer’s conduct to be completed by the officer’s supervisor. Subsequently, that supervisor must document the ac􏰀on they took to address it.

Concerns had existed for quite a while within the BIU regarding the prevalence and frequency of supervisors not properly addressing officers’ conduct, and the BIU noted that they had individuals who had easily half-a-dozen or more of these audits without any actual formal ac􏰀on being taken to address the officer’s repeated viola􏰀ons of policy or BWC usage.

The department began a step in the right direc􏰀on to address serious instances of misconduct by having forms sent through OPA for a preliminary review before they were routed to the officers’ chains of command for resolu􏰀on. Nevertheless, it is s􏰀ll too prevalent an issue that front line supervisors are not using progressive discipline to appropriately address viola􏰀ons being discovered and documented by the BIU. Far too o􏰂en supervisors are doing nothing more than having a quick conversa􏰀on with officers engaging in conduct flagged during an audit.

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Currently, the department is documen􏰀ng that it has the prac􏰀ce of iden􏰀fying policy and procedure viola􏰀ons through reviewing BWC, sending the issues to chains of command to be addressed, and then supervisors rou􏰀nely not addressing them in accordance with exis􏰀ng policy and procedures.

This is facilita􏰀ng the crea􏰀on of a workplace culture that the audits lack meaning and do not require serious a􏰁en􏰀on by officers or supervisors, and liabili􏰀es are being created which undermine the department’s credibility, effec􏰀veness, and commitment to accountability.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o There should be an inves􏰀ga􏰀on into current department prac􏰀ce to ensure that BWC audit policies are being followed in prac􏰀ce, as well as to iden􏰀fy solu􏰀ons to address the lack of appropriate handling of iden􏰀fied issues.

o Captain Whited, Lt. Te􏰁erton, and other sergeants of the BWC unit can provide much more insight into the state of this issue, its history, and provide examples of officers who have amassed audits without proper handling from their supervisors. They keep thorough records and are good sources for understanding more about this issue and possible solu􏰀ons.

____________________________________________________________________________________

Pertaining to item (7):

The MNPD misrepresented and falsely reported to the COB and Mayor’s office that it had a func􏰀onal Force Inves􏰀ga􏰀on Team (FIT) prior to its actual implementa􏰀on.

The Metro Nashville Community Oversight reported on August 27, 2021 in their Evalua􏰀on of MNPD’s Use of Force Policy Revision for Consistency with Policy Recommenda􏰀ons under item eight (8) of the COB Recommenda􏰀ons Related to the Use of Force Policy that the MNPD had accepted and par􏰀ally incorporated the recommenda􏰀on for a Force Inves􏰀ga􏰀on Team (FIT). The updated OPA SOP was quoted, and the OPA SOP was wri􏰁en as if the FIT existed.

This was just before I was appointed to OPA as lieutenant on October 1, 2021. When I was appointed, there was no FIT. All of my personnel were exclusively assigned to OPA as inves􏰀gators, and we had no members designated separately for or specially trained for use-of-force inves􏰀ga􏰀ons.

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It is my understanding that Director Morante made requests for personnel and resources to facilitate this, but these were delayed and ignored. Nevertheless, the MNPD represented OPA to the public as having a FIT and that it was in compliance with the MNCO recommenda􏰀on. There were several officer-involved shoo􏰀ngs which occurred before the MNPD actually formed FIT, and one of these was the January 2022 incident involving Mr. Landon Eastep. OPA detec􏰀ves did respond to inves􏰀gate that incident, but there was no FIT.

Serious a􏰁en􏰀on was not given to the non-existence of the FIT un􏰀l around Spring of 2023 when OPA Sergeant Arevalo was promoted to Lieutenant and retained at OPA in order to work on crea􏰀ng the FIT. As a part of this effort, he was directed to a􏰁end addi􏰀onal use of force training and visit other departments to observe and learn how their FIT’s operated and bring this back to the MNPD for considera􏰀on of implementa􏰀on. Once tasked with forming the FIT, Lt. Arevalo worked 􏰀relessly and blamelessly to help expedite this, but he was limited in what he could do without addi􏰀onal assistance from leadership.

It is my understanding that Commander Starling and Director Morante made repeated a􏰁empts to request personnel, and these requests primarily went through Assistant Chief Greene and Chief Drake. Despite this, I do not believe actual personnel were re-assigned to provide FIT with actual inves􏰀gators un􏰀l early 2024, a li􏰁le less than three (3) years a􏰂er repor􏰀ng in policy / SOP that the FIT existed.

During my 􏰀me at OPA, I gave addi􏰀onal a􏰁en􏰀on to our use of force inves􏰀ga􏰀ons, including the one involving Mr. Eastep, and I a􏰁empted to find ways to make our inves􏰀ga􏰀ons more robust, ar􏰀culate, and thorough. Nevertheless, OPA did not actually possess a FIT. We operated with what we had, which was our normal OPA detec􏰀ves and the training they already possessed. Much of our own officer involved shoo􏰀ng inves􏰀ga􏰀ons was heavily dependent upon the TBI inves􏰀ga􏰀on, and we added our own policy review.

The MNPD was not transparent about its FIT progress and should have reported that it existed only as an idea on paper and as a commitment to the MNCO. The department misrepresented the FIT to the MNCO, the mayor’s office, the public, and even its own officers. The FIT was not a priority of the MNPD leadership, as clearly evident by the easily reviewable 􏰀melines of transfers and appointments of personnel to the FIT.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o There should be an inves􏰀ga􏰀on into the causes of repor􏰀ng that the FIT existed when it did not and hold the principal personnel responsible for both the false communica􏰀on and the lack personnel and resources being moved to facilitate its crea􏰀on in a 􏰀mely manner.

o The MNPD should create a policy that requires officers involved in any use of force related cri􏰀cal incident to be placed on administra􏰀ve leave for a minimum of three working days, with approval being needed to return to their normal assignment. This should be done to avoid decommissioning officers when the op􏰀cs of an incident appear bad; to provide the MNPD the opportunity to conduct addi􏰀onal preliminary inves􏰀ga􏰀on before making such a decision; to

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eliminate any ambiguity about an officer’s work status following an incident; and to give involved officers some degree of certainty that they will have 􏰀me to prepare before returning to their normal assignment; and to create a window of 􏰀me for counseling to occur before officers return to work.

__________________________________________________________________________________

Pertaining to item (8):

The department has failed to implement an actual zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment and discrimina􏰀on; fails to properly communicate with or help employees affected by such conduct; and does not do enough to ensure violators cannot commit future inappropriate conduct.

Mayor Cooper’s 2020 Policing Policy Commission report recommended that the MNPD create a “zero tolerance” policy around sexual assault and sexual harassment, and the department does not seem to view gender discrimina􏰀on as seriously as it should.

Lt. Schmitz case highlights an example of how the department, despite the inves􏰀ga􏰀ve findings, did not sanc􏰀on a ranking supervisor commensurate with his established conduct which was reported by female employees as harassing and/or gender discrimina􏰀on. The lieutenant was not even demoted, despite the serious concerns about his treatment of those he supervised. Alongside that case was the noted lack of communica􏰀on with the employee(s) harmed by his conduct.

Another example of the department failing to take decisive ac􏰀on against an employee for established viola􏰀ons of sexual harassment, was Sean Herman’s case (HR2022-0011). The officer received too li􏰁le disciplinary sanc􏰀on for his conduct, and this employee went on to engage in other inappropriate conduct through being recorded on an Only Fans video groping a woman during a simulated traffic stop. He was subsequently terminated.

There have been repeated concerns expressed regarding how the MNPD inves􏰀gates these allega􏰀ons, treats those harmed by it, and handles the disciplinary and sanc􏰀oning of proven violators. The department has established that it does not have a zero-tolerance policy on such conduct in light of its established prac􏰀ce, despite what Chief Drake has said in the past and that departmental policy says the MNPD, “will not tolerate, condone, or allow harassment or discrimina􏰀on by employees or of employees” (4.50.020 Policy).

It does not punish such conduct severely enough to create a culture of zero-tolerance. The number of law suits and se􏰁lements, complaints, and documented failures, make this clear. Addi􏰀onally, past cases make it clear that even male employees have been affected by such conduct.

Page 59 of 61

Recommenda􏰀on:

o The department should adopt a zero-tolerance policy, increase the frequency of communica􏰀on with complainants during the en􏰀re inves􏰀ga􏰀ve and disciplinary process, and communicate sanc􏰀ons with the complainant prior to issuing them to the accused.

o In order to inform MNPD’s harassment and discrimina􏰀on policy in a meaningful way, the department should form two large commi􏰁ees (one for men, another for women) of officers of all ranks. There should be meaningful discussions about what conduct cons􏰀tutes terminatable/dismissible conduct, what help those harmed should receive, communica􏰀on expecta􏰀ons, and more, and these commi􏰁ee mee􏰀ngs should be moderated by non-Metro Government subject ma􏰁er experts who will in turn provide insights to leaderships.

It is possible that the majority of police employees have similar thoughts and feelings about what conduct is so unacceptable it should result in termina􏰀on, as well as what conduct is unacceptable but may be suitable for a lower punishment and addi􏰀onal training.

o The goal of these mee􏰀ngs is not to design new policy or procedures which replaces legal or professional standards; rather, it is to improve MNPD’s policy, procedures, and training to enhance how it meets the needs and expecta􏰀ons of its employees.

Employees should be given the opportunity to be seen and heard. This may yield valuable insights which help the MNPD going forward.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Pertaining to item (9):

Despite recommenda􏰀ons from outside sources, such as the 2020 Policing Policy Commission Report, Metro Nashville Community Oversight, and Nashville Mayor’s office, the MNPD leadership con􏰀nue to disregard a􏰁empts by external groups or persons to increase accountability and implement needed changes, and even agreed upon changes are slow to be implemented or ul􏰀mately not implemented at all.

Page 60 of 61

As referenced elsewhere within this filing of complaints, there are mul􏰀ple instances of the MNPD agreeing to implement recommenda􏰀ons from the 2020 Policing Policy Commission or MNCO and ul􏰀mately not doing so (zero tolerance of harassment/discrimina􏰀on) or are incredibly slow to do so, even while falsely repor􏰀ng its earlier implementa􏰀on (FIT team). As noted above, there is also the effort that went into legisla􏰀on.

Addi􏰀onally, other problems have been noted which have been disregarded altogether, such as in the 2020 Commission which iden􏰀fied MNPD’s inconsistent disciplinary applica􏰀on, comple􏰀ng decommissioned officer inves􏰀ga􏰀ons expediently, and holding disciplinary hearings within 45 days of comple􏰀ng inves􏰀ga􏰀ons.

A recent example of the department holding an inves􏰀ga􏰀on open for a prolonged period of 􏰀me is Sergeant Kenny’s case (IA2023-00045). I believe it has been at least six (6) months since the case was finalized and ini􏰀al sanc􏰀ons issued, and he s􏰀ll has not had his departmental hearing. The department con􏰀nues to cherry pick cases and delay them from going to a departmental hearing for reasons outside of policy and procedure. In my es􏰀ma􏰀on, these are viola􏰀ons of employees’ due process rights.

Recommenda􏰀on:

o A comprehensive review of agreed upon recommenda􏰀ons and commitments should be compiled and assessed for compliance. Those items which have not been completed should be noted and a renewed 􏰀meline for compliance be implemented in such a way as to promote public transparency and accountability.

o Recommenda􏰀ons or iden􏰀fied problems from the above listed external sources, which never received a direct answer as to the department’s commitment to address—as well as items which the department declined to address—should be reconsidered for implementa􏰀on.

END OF DOCUMENT

Page 61 of 61

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